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in'. ' ' 









Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the 
Southern District of New York. 


to ^: :. 


Miller & Curtis, 
Printers and Stereotypers, N. Y. 







c^icate t!)i0 ^ooik, 





In presenting this book to the reading public, I 
wish to give my reasons for presuming so far upon 
its indulgences. In the first place, then, some few 
of these sketches having, from time to time, made 
their debut, in the periodicals of the day, in a^ less 
finished form, I felt I had a right, in justice to my- 
self, to give them publicity in the form in which I 
now present them. 

Another, and more important reason, is the fact, 
that notwithstanding many hastily-written works 
on the Mexican War, — works prepared expressly to 
fill a temporary demand, — have been issued from 
the press, — nothing as yet had appeared in the 
shape of personal experiences, and anecdotical inci- 
dents of that campaign. 

The field for a work of that character is a wide 
one ; and I have endeavored, in the following pages, 


to cultivate it to a very limited extent. It is true, 
that I have but very superficially turned up the soil, 
v^^hich might be made so prolific. But it is to be 
hoped, that the v^ork, being so indifferently per- 
formed on my part, may induce some more skillful 
laborer to resume it; and, doing it greater justice, 
produce a richer harvest of interesting incidents and 
experiences, to be garnered into the storehouse of 

This work covers but a portion of the ground of 
operations of the American army, — being necessarily 
confined to the line passed over by the victorious 
forces under the immediate command of the gallant 
Taylor, — to which only the writer was attached. 

The incidents and anecdotes, connected with the 
rapid succession of victories on the line of General 
Scott, will, doubtless, some day, be collected in a 
form, in w^hich they may be passed down to pos- 
terity, as w^orthy of preservation. 

In justice to others as well as to himself, it is but 
proper to say, — that in carrying out the plan of the 
work, — the author has, in the first place, taken the 
liberty to make a long extract from Kendall's 
^ Santa Fc Exjjedition,^^ — the nature of the subject 
making it unavoidable ; and, secondly, — he has 


also, — in that portion of the work, devoted to the 
battle of Buena Vista, — made frequent reference to 
that most excellent work of Captain Carleton's — 
entitled " History of the Battle of Buena Visla.^- This 
is altogether the best, most correct, and detailed ac- 
count of that affair, which has ever emanated from 
the press. 

The following incidents are all matters of fact, 
and will be readily recognized as such, by those of 
my readers, who were so fortunate as to have taken 
part in the exciting scenes of the campaign ; — and 
although, in some instances, they are related in a 
colloquial style, to render them more attractive to 
the general reader, they are, nevertheless, truthful. 

Perhaps I have not contined the order of my 
sketches to strict accordance with dates ; — as not 
having the means at hand, I have been obliged in a 
great measure to draw upon memory ; — and it is al- 
most impossible, in such cases, to keep a correct 
sequence of events. 

And now, in bringing these prefatory remarks to 
a close, — I have only a parting w^ord to say to that 
interesting class of penny-a-liners, who consider it 
their especial province and right, to dissect every- 
thing, which has the fresh impress of ink and type ; 


— and to lay bare all its imperfections, and impro- 
prieties : Lay on, gentlemen ! — dissect a doctor at 
your pleasure, — but remember, that every attempt 
to annihilate my little book, is but a gratuitous ad- 
vertisement, that will enhance its sale; — therefore — 
" cave quid dicis, quando, et ciii /" 

s. c. s. 

Nevv-York, July, 1857. 



Commencement of the War. — Call for Volunteers. — Mexico a Land of 
Romance. — Cause of Volunteering. — The Halls of the Montezumas. — 
The Author's Intention to Visit Mexico. — Embarkation. — The Sabine 
River. — The Voyage and its Attendants. — Lake Sabine. — The Sabine 
Pass. — Gulf Buccaneers. — Lafitte. — Norther. — An Arrival. — Lost Boy. 
—The Search. — Mr. Deshields. — The Stock-raiser, McGuflfey.— Alli- 
gator Holes. — Probable Pate of the Boy. — Search discontinued. — Dis- 
tress of Parents, — Meeting with the Father in Galveston. - - 1 


Call made on Texas. — Colonel Bennett. — Writer joins a Texas Rifle Com- 
pany.— Schooner '' Rosella." — Conduct of Government Otficei=. — Short 
Supplies. — Storm on the Gulf — Breakers. — Heading for the Beach. — 
Exciting Scene while in the Breakers. — Shipwreck. — Isle del Padre. — 
Chowder. — Colonel Bennett leaves the Wreck. — Pilot-boat offers Aid. 
— ^Wagons arrive. — A Walk ahead. — Young Roberts. — Wreckers along 
the Shore. — Drift of the Gulf Stream. — Sea-shells. — Norther. — Attempt 
to rest.— Shifting Sand. — Travel all Night. — Return of Day. — Strange 
Sight ahead. — Wolves ! Wolves ! — Fortunate Escape. — The Reason. — 
Arrival at Point Isabel.— Election of Regimental Officers.— Mustered 
into Service. — Ordei-ed to Camargo. — Mustered out of Service. — 
Writer receives Appointment as Surgeon, and accompanies General 
Taylor. 14 


Ingredients of a Volunteer Regiment. — No place like an Army to develop 
Character.— Captain Cheshu-e's Prayer-meetings. — Our Orderly-Ser- 
geant Fry.— The Kangaroo Club.— Rules of the Club.— Place of Meet- 
lug. — Fount of Inspiration. — Programme of Proceedings, and Initiation. 
-Sergeant Fry called upon for a Stoiy.— " Old San Jacinto" and the 
Galveston Jew ; or how the General was done for. — Jimmy Tweed. — 
Jimmy as a Santa Fe Prisoner.- A Standing and Swift WitneSs.— Jim- 


my's Testimony.— Death of Jimmy. — Jimmy Byrne's " Brian O'Linn," 
— Jimmy Byrne a Famous Hunter. — His Liori, Hunt. — A slight Mis- 
take. — Jimmy's Call on Colonel Johnson. — The Loan of the Nagur's 
— Horse.— Origin of " Sloio Deer." — Jimmy not always in Luck. Pro- 
motion and Death of Jimmy Byrne. --*-.. 30 


The Army leaves Camargo, for Cerralvo. — Orders for the March.— Estab- 
lishment of General Hospital. — Old Convent. — General Quitman. — His 
Kindness to the Sick. — Interview with the Alcalde. — Disappearance of 
that Worthy.' — Cerralvo. — Silver Mines.— Imperfect manner of working 
them. — Don Francisco Lozano's Account of their Discovery. — Bene- 
ficial Effects of the Change from the Lower Country.— Pure Water. — 
The Mississippians. — Our Little Commissary. — Corn-dodgers and Corn- 
mills. — A Benefit. — "Those Blackguard Volunteers." — Incident, illus- 
trative of Mexican Character. — Murder of a Mississippian. — Juan La 
Vaca. — Excitement amongst Citizens. — The Murderer arrested. — Ex- 
amination. — Confession of Guilt. — Mother and Son. — Indifference to 
Death. — Attempt to buy off. — Alone with the Priest. — Execution. — 
Change in Public Sentiment. — Priest pockets the Gold. — Epidemic 
among Children. — Priestly Assertion. — Custom of Burial of Chil- 
dren.— Gay Procession. — Patron Saints of the Sick. — Fees, how dis- 
pensed. 56 


The Battle of Monterey.— Sui-geon Chamberlain's Letter. — The First Day. 
— Captain Ramsay's Shot.— Captain McKavetfs Presentiment and 
Death. — Colonel Garland's Attack. — Colonel Mitchell wounded. — Gen. 
Butler leaves the Field, wounded. — Anecdote of the Soldier Myers. — 
An Incident. — Discretion the better part of Valor. — Ordered to Camp. 
— Dreadful Sights of a Battle-field. — Second Day. — Message from Gen. 
Worth. — Worth's Strategy, and taking of the Bishop's Palace. — Ap- 
proach to the North of the City. — The Texas Rangers and Seifior Gahar. 
— Throwing of Shells into the Plaza. — Ampudia's Proposal rejected by 
General Taylor.— Other and Better Terms.— Strength of the City,— 
Worth deserves the Laurels. 81 


Description of the Camp near Monterey. — Trade opened with the Ran- 
cheros. — Relations between the People and the Soldiers. — Mexican 
Seiioritas. — Fandangoes. — An Evening Ride. — Arrival. — Fandango 


Music. — Addition to Party of Rangers. — Jose Maria Luna. — His Friend, 
ly Services. — Saves the Life of the Author. — Timely Warning. — El 
Mocho. — An Incident of Blood related by Dona Serafina. — Attempts to 
take the Guerrilla Chief- — Captain Baylor's Affair at Manteca. — Young 
Gideon Lee saves the Company. — Dilemma. — Eesolution to Stand our 
Ground. — Jose Maria is dispatched to the Camp. — The Fandango is 
Broken up. — Entrance of Guerrillas. — White Flag. — Its Reception, and 
Final Answer. — The Texians good Shots. — The Jacales. — Daylight ap- 
pears. — McCuUoch's Boys. — Catching a Tartar. — Return to Camp with 
Prisoners and Horses, — Scene in Rangers' Camp. — Division of the 
Spoil. 98 


The Sierra Madre. — Beautiful Valleys. — Mountain-path. — Legend of the 
Valleys. — The Black Stallion. — Lieutenant L. — The Gambler Trevinio. 
— Suspicions respecting Him. — Trevinio's generous Proposal — How re- 
ceived. — Arrangements. — The Start. — The Prospect from the Mountain- 
side. — The Lieutenant's Absence becomes Public. — Much Anxiety on 
his Account. — Parties sent out in Search of him. — Return with Mexican 
Prisoners. — No News of the Lieutenant. — Strange Object appears in 
Sight. — Enters the Pla^a. — Wretched Animal. — " For God's sake, Boys, 
help me off this Cross-cut Saw !" — The News flies. — The Lieutenant's 
Reception. — Promises to make a clean Breast of it,— His Journey, and 
Description of the Valley. — Ranchero Hospitality. — Trevinio leaves 
our Friend. — Continued Absence of the Mexican. — Time passes agree- 
ably — Determines to return to Monterey. — Return of Trevinio. — An 
Explanation. — Poco Descanso.- -Vamos para el Fandango. — San Juan. 
— In a Trap. — Mocho Martinez. — Don Patricio. — The Examination. — 
The Ofiicer unexpectedly meets a Brother. — An Irishman's ready In- 
vention. — The Don's Account of Trevinio. — The Guerrillas sally out to 
attack a Train. — The Lieutenant again mounted ; but not on the Black 
Stallion.— Commended to the Saints. — The Irishman's Kindness. — A 
painful Ride. 121 


Expecting an Attack. — Camp broken up. — Critical Situation of the Army. 
— Intentions of the Enemy. — All Persons ordered under Arms. — The 
City deserted. — The Ohioans. — Available Force. — An Order. — Lieuten- 
ant Stuard. — His miraculous Success. — The March. — Clearing the Chap- 
arral, — Crossing the Salinas, — The Fighting. — The Campo Santo. — Enter 
Marin. — Lieutenant Colonel Irvin. — A good Supper. — Irvin's Commis- 


saiy. — Burning of the Train. — Lieutenant Barbour. — Major Gaines' 
Surrender at El Salada. — Urrea and Canales. — No Quarter to the 
Drivers of the Train. — Four or five Drivers escape. — The Escort, Pris- 
oners of War. — Burning Stores. — An Incident. — Act of Bravery. — Ee- 
tum March. — Encamp at Agua Frio. — Finding a Key. — An Act of 
Courtesy; how returned. — Tenga muckissimo quidado. — An Intended 
Attack. — Eesumption of the March. — Exhausted Condition of the Com 
maud. — Firing in the Eear. — The Hollow Square. — Colonel Morgan. — 
Charges of the Lancers.— Captain Graham. — The Last Shot. — Our 
Dead. — Arrive at the Citadel. - 150 


Morgan's Command marches to Saltillo. — City of Monterey entirely de- 
serted. — No Breakfast. — Aunt Hannah. — Surgeon Snail. — A Search for 
a Breakfast. — Don Urbano Mendez. — Melancholy appearance of the 
City. — Our Friends not to be found. — Dona Felicite. — Success. — Carry- 
ing Orders. — Morgan's Men returning. — Breakei's ahead. — Lanceros. — 
A Challenge, a Volley, and a Eace. — The Best Horse. — Carbine Shots. 
— Molino Blanco. — Delivering Orders. — Major Wall. — The Eoad to 
Saltillo. — Scenery. — Eeport of Cannon among the Mountains.- -Trying 
a hand at Artillery. — Its Eesults. — Caught a Tartar — Variety of Cli- 
mate. — Hiding in advance. — "No hai, Seiior." — How to get a Dinner. 
— The Mexican Shepherd Dog. — His Intelligence. — An Incident. — La 
Eincouada. — Paso del Muerto. — Singular Custom. — A Strong Forti- 
fication. 174 


Saltillo. — Population, and Character of the People. — Influence of the 
Priests. — Priestly Harems. — Immoralities of the Monks. — Their Control 
of Public Taste. — Fountains. — Lavadores and Vendedores. — The Ala- 
meda. — Deserted by the sullen Citizens. — Eesorted to by the Amei-i- 
cans. — Houses of Saltillo. — The Serape and Jorongo. - - 194 


The Contrast between the two Armies. — Taylor changes the Plan of Bat- 
tle. — Surprise of the Mexican Commander. — His Certainty of Victory. 
— Arrangements for cutting up the retreating Americans. — A Ther- 
mopylae. — Washington's Birth day. — The Long Eoll. — Taylor goes to 
Saltillo. — The Advance of (he Enemy checked. — Troops in Line of 
Battle. — Taylor returns to the Field. — Eiflemen engaged on the side of 


the Mountain. — Fighting ceases for the Night. — Our Loss the First 
Day. — Loss of the Enemy. — Minon's Bx'igade. — The Mounted Ran 
cheros. — Colonels Blanco and Aguierra. — Taylor again returns to Sal 
tillo. — Santa Anna's Address. — Martial Music. — Reflections. — Striking 
the Camp. — The Sufferings of the two Armies during the Night. 20] 


Commencement of the Battle of the 23rd. — Position of the Light Troops 
of the Enemy. — O'Brien's Battery. — Battle opens on the Left. — Plan of 
the Battle.— The 2ud Illinois Troops.— M'CuUoch's Rangers.— The 3rd 
Indianians.— Kentucky and Arkansas Cavalry. — Our Riflemen engaged 
with Ampudia's Command. — The Mexican Line of Battle. — General Or- 
tega. — The Mexican Eight-pounder Battery. — The Bearing of the Vol- 
unteers. — The Morning. — Beautiful Appearance of the Mexican Army. 
— The unfaltering Coolness of the Americans. — General Lane. — The 
2nd Indiana Regiment. — An Unequal Struggle. — " Cease Firing and 
Retreat !" — Noble Conduct of O'Brien and his Men. — The Enemy ad- 
vance up the Ravine. — Gallantry of the 2nd Illinoisians. — Col. Bissell. 
— Contrast with the Arkansas Troops, who run on the First Fire. — The 
Retreating Indianians. — The Mississippians. — General Mora y Yillamil. 
— McKee's Kentuekians. — The Enemy continues to Advance. — Cols. 
Marshall and Yell. — Capt, Connoi-'s Texians. — The " Old Man" returns 
from Saltillo, with the Mississippians. — Critical state of Affairs. — The 
Lion-hearted Riflemen. — Too much for the Enemy, who falls back. — 
Progress of the Battle in the Centre. — Santa Anna's Horse shot. — The 
Left Flank. — Struggle Doubtful. — Col. Charles May. — Mexican Cav- 
alry Charge upon the Rancho of Buena Vista. — The 2nd Indianians do 
good Service. — Gen.Torrejon. — Deaths of Col. Yell and Capt. Porter. — 
Second Charge of Mexican Cavalry. — They present a Beautiful Appear- 
ance. — Mutual Admiration. — Singular Conduct of the Lancers. — Their 
Rout. — The Fighting continues.— A Storm.— Driving the Enemy.— Turn- 
ing the Tables. — Slaughter of the Mexicans. — The Mexican General 
sends a Flag. — Cannonading ceases on our part. — Enemy continues to 
Fire on us. — Santa Anna's Object obtained.— The Progress of the Battle 
on the Plateau and in the Ravines. — Desperate Situation of the Ken- 
tucky and Illinois Troops.— Deaths of McKee, Clay, Hardin, and others. 
— O'Brien always a Hero. — Bragg's Battery. — Taylor in the Hottest of 
the Fight.— Gen. Wool.— Enemy fall back.— "A little more Grape, Capt. 
Bragg !"— Battalion of SanPatricio.— Riley.— Gen. Minon attempts the 
City. — How repulsed. — Night approaches. — Firing ceases. — The Night. 
—Return of Day.— Victory ! Victory !— Official Report of Killed and 
Wounded. 217 



Maj. Giddings in command of Escort. — Mi*. Crittenden.— Capt. Kenneally. 
— Bradley. — Kenneally's " Boys." — His Promotion. — His Death at Kio 
Frio. — Bradley's Men. — The Kentuckians. — The March. — An Incident. 
— Chile con Cai-ne. — The Train. — Approach to Cerralvo. — Charge of the 
Lancers. — Kenneally. — Characteristic Incident. — '' Dinero ! Dinero !" — 
An Unlucky Cigarrito. — Infernal Machines. — Loss of the Enemy. 255 


The Texas Ranger. — His Horse. — His Regard for his Steed. — Variety of 
Characters among the Rangers. — Their Intelligence. — Bravery and 
Skill as Soldiers. — Billy Anderson. — Visit to the Rangers' Camp. — The 
Rattlesnake.— Billy's Snake Performance.— The " Rattlesnake's Mas- 
ter." — A Medical Fact.— Case of Drunken Soldier in Florida. — The 
Attention of the Medical OflScers called to the Fact.— The Author's Ex- 
perience. — Cases of Poisoning by the Tarantula. — Alcohol a Remedy. 
—The Modus Operandi. 265 


The Ranger Escort and Arrival at Marin. — Don Pablo and La Senora.— 
The Guerrillas. — The Alcalde. — Don Vicente Ramero. — How his 
Acquaintance was foraied. — General Tom Marshall. — A sincere Friend 
— His Information in relation to El Mocho. — The Lieutenant of Rangers- 
— The Plan for a Fight. — Arrival of Dragoons. — An Early March. — The 
Advance Piquets. — The Prisoners. — The Approach of Day. — Setting 
the Trap. — The Guerrillas Appear. — "Wait, Boys!" — Springing of the 
Trap.— The Effects.— The Guerrillas the best Runners.— Death of Dra- 
goons, and Texians wounded. — The Lieutenant " delicately" injured ! 
— Change of Positions. — The Struggle. — Desperation of Mocho. — Fight 
between the Texian Lieutenant and the Guerrilla Leader. — The Death 
of El Mocho.— Retreat of the Guerrillas.— The Train in Sight.— Gather- 
ing up of the Dead and Wounded. — Loss of the Mexicans. - 276 


The First Volunteers a better Class of Men than those who came towards 
the Close of the War. — The Private sometimes socially superior to his 
Officer. — The Rifle Regiments of Texas and Mississippi. — The Northern 
Volunteers. — The genuine Texas Rangers. — The pseudo-Texians. — The 
Gang of " Mustang Grey.'' — Like Falstatf's Ragamuffins. — Their only 
Object Plunder. — Their Murder of the Raucheros of Guadalupe. — 
Canales' Proclamation, and Commencement of Guerrilla Warfare. — 
The Proclamation was unheeded by the better class of Mexicans. — 


News from New England. — A Regiment from Old Massachusetts. — A 
Eegimeut expected of whom we might be proud. — Bad Reports. — Egre- 
giously sold. — The State disgraced. — The Murder of Harrison Beal. — 
The Circumstances. — The Burial of poor Beal. — Scott drawing off our 
Forces. — Conversation between the General and Major Bliss. — The 
Regiment under Marching Orders. — Another Murder. — A Portion of the 
Regiment remain in Confinement in the Castle of San Juan de UUoa till 
Close of the War. — Meeting of Novth Carolinians. - - - 292 


Our Line of Occupation. — Attempts to introduce Steam on the Rio Grande. 
— Former Mode of Navigating that River. — The People Two Hundi-ed 
Years behind the Age. — Volunteers introduce the Loom and Spinning- 
Wheel. — The Mexican Plough. — The Passage of a Steamboat, an Event. 
— How regarded by the Natives. — Camargo the Head of Navigation. — 
The Road from Camargo to Monterey. — Mier. — Punta Aguda Burnt by 
Colonel Curtiss. — The March of the 3rd Ohio Regiment. — Chichai-- 
rones.— The Death of Lieut. Miller.— Cerralvo.—AguaDulcis.— Mountain 
Scenery.— Sunrise among the Mountains. — The March. — Ramos. — Ma- 
rin. — Rio Salinas.— Agua Frio.— El Bosque de Santo Domingo. 311 


An Old Adage. — The Soldier, and other Components of an Army. — Gam- 
blers. — Their Implements and Expedients. — Sporting Swell turns 
Teamster. — He proceeds to Business. — A Scene in Camp. — The Gam- 
blers sometimes check-mated. — The Story of Little Red. — Sergeant K. 
— The Game of Monte. — The Sergeant in Luck. — One more Antie. — 
Fi-ee Whisky. — The Luck takes a Turn. — "Cleaned out."'— Arrive at 
Camargo. — The Sergeant has the Damps. — The Pledge. — The Surprise. 
—The Farewell. 320 


The Night Call on the Guerrillas. — The Mexicans avoid the Watering- 
places. — A hard Circumstance. — Mexicans carry their Water with 
them. — Accompanying the Train. — The Heat and Dust. — Ride ahead. 
—The Halt.— No Supper.— The Night Ride.— Old Campaigners.— Col. 
Louis P. Cook. — Mr. Clemens. — Close upon a Mexican Camp. — The 
Consultation.— The Plan adopted.— The Challenge.—" Tejanos.'"— The 
Alarm. — The Rush through the Camp. — Arrive at Punta Aguda. — The 
Ride continued. — The Mjstery. — Its Explanation. — A new Fact. — The 
Morning.- A beautiful Landscape.— The Turkey-call.- Its EflFects.— 
Bagging the Game.— The Bells of Mier. 337 



Aunt Phyllis. — A Good Breakfast. — Camauche ludians. — Their Depreda- 
tions. — They receive a Damper. — A Sad Incident. — " Mai del Corazon," 
— Rejoining the Train. — Indians Burn a Eancho. — The Eescue. — The 
Kentuckian.— His Carbine Shot.— Its Effect.— The Withdrawal of the 
Indians. 350 


The Guerrillas molest our Trains.— Jesus Romero. — His Genei'ous Conduct 
to the Ranger. — Expedition against his Party. — Directions. — Dismiss the 
Guide. — A Wild Region. — The Valleys of the Sierra Madre. — Lose the 
Trail. — Find another. — Night overtakes us. — " A Rancho !" — A Mistake. 
— The Corral. — Water. — A Picturesque Group. — Lonely Situation. — The 
Dutchman and the Wolves. — Coyotes. — Signs of Humanity. — An Oral 
Phenomenon. — The same experienced on the Mustang Deserts. — Unlike 
the Mirage. — How accounted for. — Watering our Horses. — The Grama 
or Mesquit Grass. — We eat our Last Rations. — A Dilemma. — A Ranger 
assumes the Guidance. — Another Valley. — The San Juan. — Beautiful 
Vai-iety of Cacti. — The " Cereus Giganticus." — The Encampment. — 
No Supper. — Armadillos. — A Delicious Dish. - - - 358 


Resumption of the March. — Guerrillas in Sight.— The Race. — Mysterious 
Disappearance of the Guerrillas. — The Race continued. — The Wounded 
Mexican. — Prisoners. — Chaparral Surgery.— Romex-o's Men.— Hacienda 
of San Miguel. — Signs of Guerrillas. — The Mayoral. — The Porkers. — A 
Bereaved Parent. — Etforts to Alleviate Plunger. — The Search for For- 
age. — Discovery of a Prize. — The Secret of the Mayoral's Hospitality. — 
Foundered Horses. — San Cristobal. — Signal Guns. — The Town De- 
serted. — Dignity and Inhospitality. — The Alcalde.— No Prospect of 
Food. — The Texian's Remedy. — Its good Results. — Prospects for a Sup- 
per improve. — Women and hot Tortillas. — The Alcalde improves on 
Acquaintance. — Canales' Orders. — Supper comes in good Time. — An 
Agreeable Ending to an Unpromising Beginning. — Arrival at Cer- 
ralvo. 379 


Negotiations for Peace.— The Relieving of the Old Troops.— The With- 
drawal of the Regular Troops of the Mexican Army. — The Mexican 
Government forced to a Treaty. — The Writer takes Passage for Home. 
— Arrival at Reynosa. — A Surprise.— Meet an old Friend.— Her Impres- 
sions. — She visits Gen. Taylor.— A Free Pass. — Return to St. Louis. 398 



Commencement of the War. — Call for Volunteers.— Mexico a Land 
of Romance. — Cause of Volunteering. — The " Halls of the Monte- 
zumas. — The Author's Intention to Visit Mexico. — Embarkation. — 
The Sabine River. — The Voyage and its Attendants — Lake Sabine. 
— The Sabine Pass. — Gulf Buccaneers. — Lafltte. — Norther. — An 
Arrival.— Lost Boy.— The Search.- Mr. Deshields.— The Stock- 
raiser, McGuffey. — Alligator Holes. — Probable Fate of the Boy. — 
Search Discontinued. — Distress of Parents. — Meeting with the 
Father in Galveston. 

The annexation of Texas had been consummated, 
notwithstanding the protest of the Mexican nation. 
General Taylor, with his miniature army, had left 
his encampment at Corpus Christi, and moved 
upon the left bank of the Rio Grande, claiming this 
stream as the western limit of the new State. 


" Wild war's deadly blast was blown." 

The American people were aroused by the unfa- 
miliar sound, and war! — war! was on every tongue, 


and in every ear. The fields of Palo Alto and Resaca 
de la Palma had received in blood the baptism of 
immortality ; and their names were already woven 
into the woof of history. The first act of the great 
drama, on which all the nations of the civilized 
world were gazing, had been opened ; and never 
were actors on the mimic stage hailed with such 
spontaneous applause, — such deej) heart-felt cheer- 
ings, as greeted our little band of heroes on those 
distant plains. ^ 

The contest had commenced in earnest ; but the 
gallant forces of Taylor, so few in numbers, could 
not long contend against the combined armies of 
Mexico, which were gathering from every valley 
and mountain-side of that extensive land. 

Thousands of the impulsive and generous-hearted 
youths of the South hastened to the scene. Xorth- 
ward passed the excitement ; and with lightning 
speed it coursed along the iron nerves, then just 
being stretched over the land, till the far-spreading 
contagion kindled in every breast. 

Ho! volunteers for the war! — and every hamlet, 
and village, and town, sent forth its tens, and hun- 
dreds, and thousands to swell the human tide flow- 
ins: toward the shores of Mexico. Mexico ! land of 
romance and boyhood's waking dreams ! What 
American youth is there whose veins have not 


swelled with a warmer current, as he pored over 
her early history, wrapped as it is in the exaggera- 
tion of her Spanish conquerors, and the mystery 
which the Jesuit priests throw" about every objeci 
on wdiich their shadows fall. Her mountains and 
valleys had been consecrated in his young imagina- 
tion, as the once happy homes of a simple people, 
existing under the mild and peaceful rule of the 
Montezumas, before the gold-maddened Spaniards 
had ravished their beautiful land, converted their 
blooming valleys into fields of carnage, and driven 
the inoffensive Indians from their city and temples, 
to make room for their piles of blood-gotten plun- 
der of Sfold and silver. 

But Mexico — almost a terra incGgnita, so little did 
we really know" of the country — was now" to be 
opened to us. "^Yhat cared the youthful blood 
whether the w"ar were a riofhteous one or not. 
That was our country's aiiair — not ours. And, with 
light hearts and bounding pulses, we left our homes 
to test the novelties of a first campaign, and embark 
in quest of wild adventures in that fiir-famed land. 

It was not an impulse of patriotism, strictly 
speaking, which prompted the simultaneous spirit 
of volunteering throughout the country — that, 
however, had much influence in the cause, — but, a 
spirit of enterprise and curiosity, peculiar to the 


American people, had a good deal more to do in tlie 

War, practical war, was a thing unknown to the 
youths of the land : they had only the knowledge 
of it obtained from books. They knew it only in 
tlieory; for, since the last struggle with England, 
our arms had been called into requisition only in 
the border feuds with our Indian neighbors. But, 
from reading and listening to the tales of the strug- 
gles of our fathers in the contest, which resulted in 
our independence, they had imbibed a military 
spirit, and longed to experience, in their own per- 
sons, the exciting scenes and circumstances of the 

Now was opened an opportunity which had been 
so long and ardently hoped for; and with so many 
alluring anticipations as Mexico with her exciting 
history presented to the adventurous and inquisi- 
tive American. 

*' The Halls of the Montezumas" 

became, from the first, a rallying word, as it after- 
ward became the realization of our hopes ; and to 
"revel in the Halls of the Montezumas" was an 
idea and expression, in the ranks of our volunteer 
army, as familiar as the household words of our 
distant homes. 


For many years I had promised myself a visit to 
Mexico : in fact, this had been one of the cherished 
plans of my life, from the earliest days of boyhood. 
Year after year had rolled away, and still the favor- 
ite project had been delayed. 

At length, in the winter of 1S4G, being then in 
Louisiana, on the banks of the Sabine, I concluded 
to proceed down that river to the coast, to carry 
into effect the long-cherished object. 

At this season of the year, the low stage of water 
in the river made navigation impracticable to any- 
thing larger than canoes. Accordingly, in company 
with a friend, I obtained a ^' dug-oufy — a craft 
roughly hewed out of a pine-tree, and much in use 
on the western and southern rivers and lagoons — 
and embarking, wdth a few blankets, our trunks, 
.fishing-lines, guns, etc., with a good supply of " ship-* 
stores," we started on our voyage tow^ards the Gulf 
of Mexico. 

The Sabine flows through an extremely wild and 
gloomy region, where game of all kinds, to be found 
in a southern wilderness, is very abundant. Wild 
fowl sported fearlessly upon the bosom of the stream, 
and covered its surface. The rifle of the backwoods- 
man had, as yet, but seldom disturbed the quiet of 
their winter retreat; and it required but a single 
shot from our " double-barrels" to furnish us w^ith 


abundant means for a savory mess at our even camp- 
fire. The water, over which our primitive vessel 
lazily glided, w^is as amply provisioned in its depths, 
as upon its w^ell-stocked surface. When our palates 
were weary of foivl, we had only to throw over a 
baited hook, and, at the first sand-bar, regale upon 
" fish, fried, or fricaseed." 

To enumerate the number of bears, deer, and 
otters — to say nothing of the alligators — we killed, 
on our voyage downward, might endanger my 
reputation ; and, as I intend, in these pages, to state 
nothing but facts, I will not venture too much, even 
upon tnitJts, which might, in any degree, compromise 
my character for strict veracity. 

After a passage of two wrecks — full of interesting 
incidents, and having passed something over three 
hundred miles, from our point of embarkation — we 
aiTived at the Pass of the Sabine. 

The river proper does not directly debouch into 
the gulf, but terminates in the Sabine Lake. This 
body of water covers an area of some thirty or forty 
miles, and empties into the gulf through the "Pa55," 
— a strait between five and six miles in length. 

In the days of the Gulf Buccaneers, this lake and 
pass was a place of frequent resort for those lawless 
rovers. Here they found shelter from the " Northers,^^ 
so prevalent upon the coast, and easily evaded the 


vigilance of the cruisers who misfht be on the look- 
out for them. None but themselves were acquainted 
with the intricate windings of the dangerous channel, 
and, when once within the oyster-reefs, they were 

At the head of the lake, I was sliown the spot 
where the flimous gulf-pirate, Lafitte, repaired his 
fleet ; and where he had a depot for storing his ill- 
gotten gains till such times as they w^ere forwarded 
to his New Orleans consignees. The best pilots 
found on the gulf coast w^ere those who had served 
under the buccaneer flag of Lafltte. Some of these 
men I chanced to meet at Galveston, and found them 
ever ready and happy to repeat their oft-told tales 
of what they w^ere pleased to term "the good old 
days of free-trade." 

At the Pass, where, as yet, were found but three 
or four families — but which will, at some time, 
become a commercial town — we learned the proba- 
ble prospects of troubles with Mexico, in relation 
to the matter of annexation. Here, my friend, the 
companion of my voyage, having accomplished the 
object of the trip, which was the trip itself, left me 
to reascend the river for a short distance, where he 
had been offered a horse in exchange for our old 
dug-out. Before I left the Pass, where I remained 
for several weeks, I heard of his safe arrival at; his 


home. I remained to luxuriate on the excellent 
oysters which here abound, and to enjoy the rare 
sport with my gun, among the wild fowl and deer, 
which literally covered the prairies. 

" ' City of the Pass/' although ia embryo yet, 
Across- thy waves a thousand lights shall flit ; 
A thousand merchants through thy streets shall ply, 
With faces seaward turned, and anxious eye. 
Tho' wide-extended plains now 'round thee spread, 
That echo only to the wild bull's tread — 
Tho' reeds and sedge-grass in thy pathways grow, 
Where rarely now the hunter-herdsmen go— 
The day will come, nor is it distant long, 
When on thy crowded strand a busy throng 
Will toil and sweat wnth greedy pains, 
For the yellow dross that traffic gains ; 
And commerce with her snowy wings shall corae 
To hail thy stormless waters as her home." 

It was during my stay here, that, forced by a 
norther, a little clipper-rigged vessel sought shelter 
in the strait. She was owned and commanded by 
a German gentleman, who, with his little family, 
consisting of his wife and an only son, and accom- 
panied by his servants, had just arrived from Eu- 
rope. He was now coasting along the Gulf shore, 
with the intention of selecting a spot on the Texas 
coast for their future home. 

His son, a promising lad of some fourteen, or 
sixteen years, accompanied me one day to shoot 
brants, and being a good shot soon filled his bag. 


After remaining several days, the little vessel dropped 
down towards the mouth of the Pass. But the 
wind not blowing from a favorable quarter, she w^as 
made fast to the shore ; and father and son, taking 
their guns, w^ent out upon the marsh in quest of 
game. About noon they returned. Still, the wind 
remaining unfavorable, the son, saying he would 
try to get a few more birds, started out alone, 
promising to return within an hour or two. The 
mother, seated under an awning on the deck, 
watched the boy for some time, and heard him dis- 
charge his gun. But being called below to dinner, 
saw no more of him. 

Several hours passed away, and the sun w^as sink- 
ing towards the horizon, but the boy did not return. 
The wind had now w^orked round to the right 
quarter, and the father hoisted the signal, agreed 
upon, to recall his son. But he did not come. 
Down sank the sun, and the shades of evening 
began to fall. Still the absent boy came not in 
sight. Now it was, that fearful forebodings wrung 
the hearts of those doting parents. Their child — 
their only darling child — what could have detained 
him ! 

The flither and crew shouted his name at the 
top of their voices. But no returning shout re- 
plied. Recall guns were fired — but no answering 


shot relieved their bursting hearts. Through that 
long and fearful night, they sought, with lights, in 
every direction for the missing boy. All tliat live- 
long night the v^retched mother walked the deck 
alone, wringing her hands in anxious agony, and 
watching, with tearful eyes, the distant lights, as 
they flitted from place to place, over the marsh. 

In vain she listened, with aching ear, for the 
signal shot which was to tell of the recovery of her 
lost child ; — and, ! God! wdiat agony wrung that 
wretched mother's breast, when, near day, the 
party returned, and proclaimed their search in 

With the return of the morning light, the father 
came up to the " city," and brought the sad intelli- 
gence of the loss of his boy. 

Mr. Deshields, the revenue officer, immediately 
ordered out his boat's crew^ ; and every man about 
the Pass, with but one exception, volunteered to 
assist in the search. But, I blush for human nature 
while I record it, one strong, able-bodied^man — I 
had almost said, but I will take back the word, — 
one fellow, named Magi/ffcij, a stock-raiser, refused 
to go, though earnestly solicited to do so; urging, 
when reasons for his refusal w^ere demanded, that 
"Ae did?i''t like to wet Ids feet in the marsh!''' 

Leaving this craven and selfish wretch to enjoy 

alligators' holes. 11 

his dry stockings, we all hurried to the marsh. All 
that day, and the following, we searched it in every 
direction for miles. But not till near night of the 
next day was anything discovered to indicate what 
might have been the fate of the poor boy. A shot 
from one of Mr. Deshield's men, called the scattered 
hunters about him. There, by a large alligator's 
liole, lay the boy's gun, and, near by, one of his 
shoes. No other sign or remnant of clothing was 
to be found. The m.arsh in this place abounded 
with these alligators' holes. They are deep pools 
of water, formed by these creatures, among the 
reeds, which grow in patches over the marsh. Upon 
the mud, thrown around the margins of these holes, 
the alligators lay, basking lazily in the sun ; and, 
when disturbed by the approach of danger, hide 
themselves in the bottom of their muddy wells. 

The fate of the poor lad was now explained. He 
had fallen a victim to the rapacity of one of those 
disQ^ustinc: saurians. 

"Oh! my boy ! — my poor boy !" exclaimed the 
miserable father. " I cannot give up the search for 
him yet. Is there no chance for his escape? Does 
he not live yet? Oh! friends, don't give up the 

We assured him, that to look further would result 
in no good; for if the fate we expected had not 


been his, he must have perished from the effects of 
fright, fatigue, and exposure. 

" That boy," said the father, " has never, since 
his birth, been so long absent from my sight. I 
have had him with me in all my voyages. He has 
journeyed with me over Europe, and ever, on all 
occasions, has he been my constant companion — and 
now — must I lose him thus — in so horrid a place — 
and by so cruel a death ? Oh ! cannot you, my 
friends, restore to me, at least, the mangled remains 
of my poor dear boy ?" 

It was in vain we endeavored to condole with 
him, or offer our sympathies — grief like his could 
listen to no condolence of strangers. 

He would not leave the place without making one 
more effort to recover his lost child ; and though 
we were satisfied that the body would never be 
found, we indulged the heart-broken parents by 
continuing the hunt through the night. At length, 
even they were convinced that further search would 
be in vain. 

Never shall I forget the look of agony and de- 
spair in that father's face, as he pressed our hands, 
and in vain essayed to thank us for the sympathy 
we had shown for him — then turned away, and 
falteringly gave orders to his crew to resume the 


A few days after, I arrived at Galveston ; and 
almost the first person I met on landing was the 
unliappy father of the lost boy. He recognized me, 
and throwing his arms about my neck, endeavored to 
speak ; but his heart was too full for utterance. I 
knew what his thoughts were, and what inquiry he 
wished to make ; and shaking my head, for I, too, 
had lost the control of my own voice, gave him to 
understand that the lost had never been found. 


Call made on Texas.— Colonel Bennett.— Writer joins a Texas Rifle 
Company.— Schooner '-Rosella." — Conduct of Government Officer. 
— Short Supplies. — Storm on the Gulf. — Breakers. — Heading for 
the Beach. — Exciting Scen'e while in the Breakers. — Shipwreck. — 
Isle del Padre. — Chowder. — Colonel Bennett leaves the Wreck. — 
Pilot-boat offers Aid. — Wagons arrive. — A Walk ahead. — Young 
Roberts.— Wreckers along the Shore.— Drift of the Gulf Stream.— 
Sea-shells. — Norther.— Attempt to rest.— Shifting Sand. — Travel 
all Night. — Return of Day. — Strange Sight ahead. — Wolves I 
Wolves !— Fortunate Escape — The Reason. — Arrival at Point 
Isabel.— Election of Regimental Officers. — Mustered into Service. — 
Ordered to Comargo. — Mustered out of Service. — Writer receives 
Appointment as Surgeon, and accompanies General Taylor. 

The call had been made upon Texas for volun- 
teers. The excitement was at its greatest height, 
when Colonel Joseph Bennett, one of the veteran 
officers of the battle of San Jacinto, arrived at Gal- 
veston, from the Trinity river, with his partially- 
organized company of riflemen, on its way to the seat 
of war. The writer, with several others, was accepted 
in this company, Avhich now being completed, await- 
ed only the tardy motions of the officer, stationed at 
this port for the purpose, to furnish the requisite 
equipments, and transportation to Point Isabel, or 


the Island of Brazos, at which places the volunteer 
forces were then rendezvoushig. 

About the 23d of May, after two or three other 
companies of Texians had been dispatched, we 
were provided wnth the schooner "Rosella," — a 
worthless little tub, wdiich could hardly hold her 
rotten timbers together while lying in the harbor, 
and must inevitably go to pieces if caught out in 
rough weather. She w^as provisioned and watered 
for only three days, when she should have had, 
at least, a wreck's rations. But probably the ivise 
and humane officer concluded, that as there w^as but 
little prospect of her reaching her destination, her 
three days' supplies were enough to invest in so 
hazardous a venture. There were, at the same time, 
a nmnber of good staunch vessels open for charter, 
lying at the wharves ; but the petty tyrant w^as 
obstinate, and wished to make a show of his author- 
ity, this, probably, being the first opportunity he 
had ever had to do so. 

We protested against the inhumanity of crowd- 
ing into so small and unseaworthy a craft nearly 
one hundred men, and risking their lives thus unne- 
cessarily. The only reply the upstart deigned to 
return w^as — 

"Either go on board the ' Rosella' with your men, 
or go back to the woods, whence you came.". 


We then applied for two more clays' supply of 
water, but were answered, that " the vessel could 
not stow another cask." How^ever, our anxiety 
was so great to get aw^ay and join the army before 
other volunteers arrived, that we concluded to run 
the risk, and accept of this Hohsoii's choice; and 
finally, by closely stowing, we managed to pack 
ourselves into the old condemned vessel. 

We had been but two days from port, when a 
storm came on, which, in an ordinary staunch vessel, 
we might have easily weathered ; but the old rig- 
ging and spars could not long stand before it. The 
gale came, at first, from the northwest, accom- 
panied with hail and rain. At the same time, a 
current, running from the south along the Texas 
coast, at the rate of six knots, made a most ugly and 
uncomfortable sea. Everything not lashed to the 
deck was soon swept away by the heavy seas the 
little vessel shipped. The storm increased in vio- 
lence as the day advanced — the wind, however, 
veering from northwest, to north, and northeast. 
The confusion which prevailed among the closely- 
packed passengers, but, few of whom had ever 
before seen salt w^ater, may be imagined only by 
those whose fate it has been to be placed in a similar 

As the storm worked round to the north, it seemed 


to gather strength and fury. With nothing but 
close-reefed foresail we had been running before it 
for some time very comfortably ; but, as a sudden 
squall from that point struck us — crack! crash! — 
away flew the sail, blown clean out of its bolt-ropes, 
— and away it fluttered, in ribbons, to leeward. 
The same fate awaited the rotten jib ; for, before it 
was hoisted home, away it went, overboard, dragging 
under the bows, and, held only by its gasket, be- 
came a useless hamper, and was cut adrift. 

A moment more, and the vessel, relieved of all 
canvas, would have broached to, in the trough of the 
sea ; but the order to get up the main-sail was 
promptly given, and obeyed. This brought her 
head once more before the wind. The main-sail was 
now our only hope; but the main-gafl*boom, which 
before had been sprung, and patched with battens, 
no sooner felt the strain of the sail, as it filled av/ay, 
than — snai}! — it parted about four feet from the 
mast ; and down dropped the main-peak. 

The pitching and rolling of the vessel increased 
as the sail was diminished ; and soon our maintop- 
mast went overboard. 

Besides all this, the poor old craft labored so 
heavily, that the seams w^ere opened, and the brine 
began to come in upon the men in the hold, to such 
an extent as greatly to increase the alarm. 


By this time, the gale had worked round to the 
northeast ; and, driving before it, we came within 
hearing of the roaring surf, which, for a long time, 
had been visible, as it broke over the low, sandy 

It was now determined, as the only chance left to 
us, to run upon the beach, and trust to our indivi- 
dual efforts to reach the shore. It required cool and 
steady nerves to steer the vessel through the breakers. 
But, manfully. Jack stood to the helm. 

"Keep her head-on ! There, so !" was the order 
of the captain. 

"Ay, ay, sir! but, captain, I wish I was taking 
her into a better port" — and the tears stood in the 
eyes of the brave sailor, as he braced himself to 
obey the last order given on board the old 
" Rosella." 

I wuU not attempt to describe the fearfully sub- 
lime spectacle, of a vessel, crowded with human 
beings, dashing into the jaws of the maddened 
breakers, whose foamy spray was tossed above her 
tallest spars. It was awful to see her rushing on, 
like a suicide, to voluntary destruction ! To me 
the scene was fearfully grand and exciting. Onward 
she rushed, for one instant, lifted like a bubble upon 
the crest of a huge wave, the next, pitched headlong, 
like a worthless waif, down into the vortex ; ihcn, 


borne aloft again on a heavier sea than she had 
before surmounted, she was dashed, with a terrific 
crash, upon the bottom. This was the moment, as 
was previously arranged, for every man to quit the 
object by which he was holding, and throw himself 
into the next succeeding wave,— trusting to liis 
strength and presence of mind to reach the sliore. 
Again the vessel rose, on the next sea, and, being 
now lightened of her living freight, was thrown 
high upon the beach, a broken and worthless wreck. 

Fortunately, not a man was lost. We found our- 
selves upon Padre Island, a wretched, barren sand- 
bank, one hundred and thirty miles long, extending 
along the Texas coast, between Corpus Christi and 
Brazos de Santiago. 

The island was destitute of animals ; and nothing 
found existence here, but disgusting sand-crabs, and 
venomous insects. There was no water, but such 
as was to be found by digging into the sand, some 
distance from the beach. This had been furnished 
by the rains of the previous summery but was so 
impregnated with salt, that its taste was nauseous 
in the extreme. However, to compensate for the 
bad quality of our water, we did not suffer from 
hunger. The storm going down, soon after we had 
reached the shore, we obtained from the wreck, 
among other necessary articles, fishing-lines and 


hooks. Baiting these with sand-crabs, and throwing 
them into the surf, we soon supplied ourselves with 
quantities of the delicious red-fish^ — the trout of the 
intro-tropical seas. These, with potatoes, bread, and 
onions, the remnant of the ship-stores, were con- 
verted into very tempting chowder. 

The second day after the wreck, Colonel Bennett, 
with the greater portion of the men, left for the 
southern end of the island ; where they signaled 
across the bay, to Brazos Island, and were taken by 
lighters to the temporary encampment there. Some 
fifteen or twenty men were left with me at the 
wreck, until wagons could be ferried across the bay, 
to remove our effects to the main land at Point 
Isabel, where the volunteer forces were assembling. 

While at the wreck, a pilot-cutter discovered the 
wreck, and sent a boat through the surf, with a pres- 
ent of bread and other necessaries to us, and gener- 
ously offered to give us a passage to the Brazos. 

In a few days the wagons arrived, having found a 
good road along the smooth beach. Providing my- 
self with a haversack, containing a few biscuits of 
pilot-bread, a canteen of brackish water, and a sin- 
gle blanket, I concluded to walk ahead, and, when 
fatigued, to wait for the coming up of the wagons. 
A young Texian, named Roberts, who had been one 
of the unfortunate Santa Fe prisoners, and after- 


wards was taken again at Mier, proposed to accom- 
pany nie. 

I had been flivorably impressed with this man's 
appearance and deportment during the affair of the 
wreck. During the whole of that exciting scene, 
when many were beside themselves with fear, at the 
prospect of death, Roberts was cool and fearless. 
Hq went among the men in the hold, and endea- 
vored to quiet their alarm, assuring them there was 
but little danger; and, when many had stripped 
themselves of every article of clothing, in the piti- 
less storm of sleet, which accompanied the north- 
er, that they might the easier reach the shore, 
Roberts, reminding them that they w^ould suffer for 
the want of them, busied himself in gathering up 
their garments, and throwing them overboard, to be 
washed ashore, where they w^ere recovered by the 

On reaching the shore, the sleet and drifting 
sand cut like knives. Roberts was the first to set 
the example to those who had retained all their 
clothing, by stripping himself of a portion of his 
own, and dividing them with those who had none. I 
was satisfied that he was a brave fellovv^ and one to 
be depended upon in an emergency, and was glad 
to have his company. 

The morning was excessively hot, with hardly a 


breath of air in motion. It was just such weather 
as, in that latitude, always precedes those cold 
northers, like the one that had driven us upon the 
island. As we did not intend to keep far ahead of 
the wagons, Roberts, accommodating his dress to 
the weather, had on only hat, cotton shirt and 
drawers, and boots. 

We found the shore for many miles strewed with 
fragments of wrecks, and boxes, and bales of goods, 
which had been thrown into the sea from vessels 
which, perhaps, had been in the same storm that 
had driven us ashore. 

These objects attracted our attention as w^e came 
up to them ; and others still ahead, invited us to 
proceed. We frequently found, as we walked along 
the edge of the surf, fresh cocoa-nuts. Brazil-nuts, 
and other fruits and plants of more southern lati- 
tudes, which, no doubt, had made the voyage from 
the rivers of the southern continent, on the gulf 
stream, flowing from that direction, to unite with 
the other, or more northern branch of it. We ob- 
served entire sycamores, and other trees from the 
forests of the north, which, coming down the Mis- 
sissippi, and being carried to sea, were also deposited 
on this shore by the same current. Large logs of 
mahogany, cut in the forests of Honduras, were 
strewn along the shore. Quantities of pumice- 


Stone and lumps of pure bitumen lay here and 
there upon the sand. From whence these sub- 
stances came, we could not then determine : par- 
ticularly the pumice-stone. That bitumen was 
abundant in the Caribbean Islands, I w\as aware ; 
and the pumice-stones may have been washed by 
tropical rains from the base of some extinguished 
volcano of Central America, and, carried upon the 
bosom of some river, been thrown out upon the 
Gulf waters. 

Sea-shells and other marine objects, many of rare 
and beautiful varieties, were abundantly strewn 
along the water-line of the beach. Of these we 
would almost involuntarily load ourselves, and as 
often cast them from us, for others of more beautiful 
coloring and texture, or of rarer species. Thus, we 
w^ere led along, from one object to another, till, 
before we were aware of it, we had left the wagons 
far behind, and out of sight. 

The clouds, in the mean time, indicated the ap- 
proach of a norther. Rapidly the dark scowling 
vapors crept up from the northern horizon ; then a 
hissing sound came over the waters, followed imme- 
diately by a freezing wind that cut to the bone, 
whirling the sand about like drifting snow. The 
sharp crystals cut like needles, as they were blown 
with force against our persons. Roberts, being 


almost naked, suffered extremely : his shirt and thin 
cotton drawers were no protection to the stinging 
sand and cold wind. Then came the rain, accom- 
panied with hail and sleet. It was fortunate for 
us that I had brou2:ht a blanket aloncf. This we 
divided between us, by placing our arms around 
each other's shoulders, and each holding a corner in 
front. The storm being at our backs, we were able 
to scud before it. To stop now to wait the approach 
of the wagons was impossible, as the most rapid 
locomotion was necessary to keep the blood from 
congealing in our veins. We proceeded along in 
this way, the storm increasing in violence as the 
day advanced. The night, dark and gloomy, came 
upon us ; and still we were obliged to move along, 
guided by the white line of surf that broke over our 
feet. Hour after hour we toiled before the pitiless 
storm, that goaded us onward, till at length, when 
nearly exhausted, w^e sought the shelter of the lee- 
side of the sand-hills beyond the beach. Lying 
down, side by side, upon the sand, and drawing the 
blanket over us, we sought to snatch a moment's 

Had we suffered ourselves to yield to the sleep 
our exhausted limbs demanded, it would have been 
the long last slumber to us. Scarcely had we con- 
gratulated ourselves upon the partial protection 


we found from the storm, when we found we had 
another enemy to dread in the drifting sand, which 
would soon have buried us alive. We had, there- 
fore, no other resource but to take to the beach 
again, and anxiously hope for the coming day. 

At length the wnshed-for light returned, slowly 
breaking through the murky clouds to seaward, 
and revealing the dark bosom of the ocean, lashed 
and broken into foam, and dashing, in huge waves, 
upon the shore, as if determined to swallow up the 
ground beneath us. 

On turning a point of sand-hills, my attention 
w^as called by an exclamation from Roberts: 

"Look — look there! What are those objects 
approaching us along the edge of the breakers ?" 

I looked in the direction, and perceived about a 
dozen animals moving leisurely towards us. They 
came along, one after the other, in a single line. 
Not supposing that animal life could find existence 
on this miserable sand-island, w^e were at a loss to 
make them out. But at length, as w^e approached 
them nearer, Roberts declared they w^ere wolves of 
a large and ferocious kind. 

The creatures had sighted us, but continued to 
move along in the same leisurely manner as at first. 
They were of a blue color, slightly brindled, and of 
a larger species than I had ever before seen. 


The strip of beach between the sand-hills and the 
breakers, was only a few yards in width ; and, totally 
unarmed, as we were, I liad no disposition to come 
into close quarters with strangers of so unprepos- 
sessing appearance. I, therefore, proposed to give 
them a wide berth, and the entire right of way — 
which they seemed disposed to claim ; and sug- 
gested to my fiiend the propriety of our taking a 
cut over the sand-ridge. 

This he objected to, and thought it best to arm 
ourselves, each with a good club, — plenty of which 
were to be found among the drift on the shore, — and 
show the wolves a determined front. Still, on they 
came, showing no inclination to give an inch of the 
path to us. I had a sheath-knife in my haversack, 
which, till now, I had forgotten ; and, with the club 
in one hand, and the drawn knife in the other, I de- 
termined to fight them as long as possible, should 
they make an attack. Swerving but a little from 
our direct course, we awaited their approach, still 
moving slowly toward them. We had no intention 
to open the battle, on our part, but agreed to let 
them alone, if they would observe the same peaceful 
inclination toward us. With menacing growl, and 
their long, bony tails drawn between their legs, 
they came up. For an instant — only an instant, — 
they stopped in the path before us, as if undeter- 

WOL\'ES. 27 

mined what to do ; then, with their red, vicious 
eyes glaring vengefully at us, they slowly turned a 
little to one side — so near, however, that we might 
have touched them with our clubs, and Vvith their 
heads over their shoulders, growling defiance, lei- 
surely filed past us. We looked at each other in 
silence, and simultaneously inspired a full, relieving 
breath of ocean air ; for, to tell the truth, we had 
not breathed at all for the last few moments. 

When the last gaunt devil of them had passed, I 
could not withstand the temptation of hurling my 
club at his ugly head. Eoberts saw my uplifted 
hand, and instantly caught it. " What!" said he — 
" would you have the infernal pack turn upon us? 
Had you hit that brute, they would not have left so 
much as a grease-spot of us !" 

As may be supposed, we lost no time in increas- 
ing the distance between us, and those unwelcome 
customers. On proceeding a few miles further down 
the coast, w^e discovered the reason of the forbear- 
ance of the wolves toward us. It was not in con- 
sideration of the bold front we presented to them, 
as we had flattered ourselves ; but they had been 
regaling all night upon some carcasses of beeves 
that had been cast upon the beach, and, probably, 
washed overboard, in the storm, from some vessel 
bound down to the army. 


On arriving at Point Isabel, we found the ten 
companies bad now all arrived ; and as volunteer 
troops bad tbe election of tbeir own officers, we pro- 
ceeded to tbat important business. Tbe company 
officers bad been cbosen, and tbe companies organ- 
ized before leaving borne. It now only remained 
for us to elect our regimental officers. 

Tbere were a number of candidates for tbe office 
of colonel, among wbom was General Lamar. Tbis 
gentleman, wbo bad been president of tbe ex-repub- 
lic, and commander-in-cbief of its army and navy, 
afterward commanded a company of rangers. 

Our cboice fell upon General A. Sidney Jobnson, 
a Texan veteran, wbose election we bad no cause, 
afterward, to regret. He was every incb a soldier 
and gentleman. 

We were tben mustered into tbe service, under 
tbe name of tbe " First Regiment of Texas Rifles." 

We remained but a few weeks at tbe Point, and 
were ordered up tbe Rio Grande to Comargo. But 
as General Taylor determined to proceed from tbis 
place only witb twelve montbs men, our regiment, 
being engaged only for tbe term of six montbs, was 
paid off, and again we were mustered — out of tbe 

On disbanding, tbe members of tbe regiment were 
received into otber volunteer regiments and compa- 


nies, that were not as full as the regulations per- 

Here, I received my appointment, as surgeon, and 
soon after accompanied General Taylor on the march 
toward Monterey. 


Ingredients of a Volunteer Regiment. — No place like an Aimj to 
develop Character. — Captain Cheshire's Prayer-meetings. — Our 
Orderly-Sergeant Fry. — The Kangaroo Club. — Rules of the Club. 
— Place of Meeting. — Fount of Inspiration. — Programme of Pro- 
ceedings, and Initiation. — Sergeant Fry called upon for a Story. 
— •• Old San Jacinto" and the Galveston Jew ; or how the Gene- 
ral was done for. — Jimmy Tweed. — Jimmy as a Santa Fe Prisoner. 
— A Standing and Swift Witness. — Jimmy's Testimony. — Death of 
Jimmy. — Jimmy Byrne's "Brian O'Linn.'' — Jimmy Byrne a Fa- 
mous Hunter.— His Lim Hunt. — A slight Mistake.— Jimmy's Call 
on Colonel Johnson.— The Loan of the Nagur's Horse. — Origin of 
''Slow i)m-."— Jimmy not always in Luck. — Promotion and Death 
of Jimmy Byrne. 

In a company of several hundred men, like a vol- 
unteer regiment, made up of individuals from every 
grade and class of society, — from the statesmen and 
founders of a republic, to the humble member of 
the "finest pisantry;" where wealthy planters, and 
professional men, students, and clerks, fresh from 
the counting-house, backwoodsmen and Indian- 
fighters, adventurers, and men of " no visible means" 
are congregated together, — and where is represented 
every profession, and almost every country, — it 
would be natural to suppose that every phase of 



human nature would be encuuntered. Perhaps this 
was more particularly so with the First Rifles, than 
with any other volunteer organization in our army. 
There is no place like an army, to develop the pe- 
culiar traits of each individual. Selfishness, gene- 
rosity, and all the best and worst features of the 
human heart here reveal themselves. A few months' 
companionship in camp, makes men better acquaint- 
ed with each other, than a lifetime spent together 
under any other circumstances. 

We had not long been settled in camp, when it 
was observed that little circles and associations 
were springing up amongst men of similar tastes 
and education,— a mutual attraction and affinity of 
minds of congenial elements. 

Captain Cheshire, from Eastern Texas, had fitted 
up a large tent, for the accommodation of those 
who felt piously inclined :— whence, on a calm 
moonlight night, the melody of psalm-singing, 
sermonizing, and prayer, resounded over the camp. 
The chief orator, on these occasions, was our or- 
derly-sergeant Fry. He was a decided character, 
and deserves a passing notice. The Sergeant was 
the tallest man in our regiment, being six feet nine 
in his stockings, and was slim and straight as an 
Indian ; long fiivored, with blue eyes, and pleasant 
countenance, and a nose of huge proportions. 


Whether he belonged to the Methodist, Baptist, 
or Universalist persuasion, could not be ascertained 
from his discourses. One thing, however, was cer- 
tain, — if he was a Methodist, there was not much 
method in his eloquence. He never touched upon 
doctrinal points ; and when not holding forth to his 
congregation, there was nothing of the parson in 
his manner, unless it was his general good-nature, 
and friendly smile, and word for every one he met. 
The Sergeant declared " he had volunteered to look 
after the spiritual interest of the boys. That he 
meant to serve the Lord ; but, if duty required him 
to shoot Mexicans, why, — he thought he could do 
so, and look to heaven with a clear conscience." He 
was one of those pious soldiers, who could trust to 
Providence, but chose to take care of his own pow- 

The Sergeant was a prominent member of the 
" Kangaroo Cluhy This was a moonlight associa- 
tion, got up by the young bloods of the regiment. 
Each member of this club was called upon, in turn, 
either to sing a song, or tell a good story; the for- 
feit or penalty for declining, was to take the j^lace 
of some other member, at his reijular turn of 2:uard- 

The place of meeting of this club was on the 
plain, a short distance beyond the limits of the 

''^""''''; iSth 


camp. Here they would form a circle on the 
ground, — a la Turk, — with a large canteen, labeled 
*' hrandy^''^ in the centre of the group. This was 
christened the " Fount of Insjnration.''^ When a 
guard had been placed around the outside, to keep 
out the uninitiated, the meeting was called to order. 
First in the programme of proceedings, is, the intro- 
duction and initiation of candidates. One is intro- 
duced at a time. He is invited, with much formal- 
ity, to take a seat in the circle, when the president 
directs the fount to be passed to the new comer. 
The Kangaroo, seated at his right hand, steps to 
the centre, and, taking the canteen of liquor by the 
strap, returns to the side of the candidate. First 
shaking it well, to his ear, to ascertain that it is 
full, he slowly draws the stopper, and applies his 
nose to the bung, to test the quality of the con- 
tents. Apparently not satisfied with this inspec- 
tion, he next places it to his lips, and, throwing his 
head back as if to see the moon, takes a long 
hearty draught. Slowly bringing his head forward 
again, he lets the canteen gradually subside upon 
his lap ; and then, inhaling a long breath, rounded 
off with an audible smack of approval, proceeds to 
pronounce an eulogium upon "that most excellent 
and extra Cognac," and desires to know of tlie 

president " where such good liquor is to be found." 



The candidate for Kangaroo honors is very im- 
patiently waiting, all this time, for his share of the 
good stuff. But he is doomed to disappointment ; — 
for no sooner does he reach out his hand to grasp 
the canteen, than the next right hand man snatches 
it away; — and thus, with similar pantomime, as at 
first, it makes the round of the circle of Kangaroos. 
The candidate w^atches its passage with fear and 
trembling, lest, when it should finally get round to 
him, his share would be but small. Already his 
throat is parched, and he begins to " spit cotton." 
He is actually suffering a sort of martyrdom, when, 
at last, the vessel reaches him. He greedily places 
it to his lips, nor stops to taste, — till he has imbibed 
several swallows; when, — bah! — he finds he has 
been most egregiously sold. — He has been drinking 
the brackish water of the lagoon ! 

The Kangaroos, who have been maintaining the 
utmost gravity up to this moment, now give vent 
to a general shout of merriment ; and the half- 
vexed, half-laughing candidate, is duly proclaimed 
a genuine Kangaroo, and called upon for his song 
or story. 

I had gone through the initiatory ceremony of 
this brotherhood one calm summer's night, and 
had contributed my mite to the general fund of 
amusement, when Sergeant Fry, who liappened 


to be my right hand neighbor, was called upon for 
a story. 

"Well, boys," said he, " I have no objection to 
doing extra guard duty ; and I will leave it to you 
to say, whether I shall do so, or tell a story." 

" A story, a story, Sergeant ! give us a story !" 
cried some. 

"No, no! a song, a song, from the Sergeant," in- 
sisted others. 

" Order, boys ; you all know I can sing nothing 
but psalm-tunes, and they would not be exactly 
appropriate to the occasion. Come up to Capt. 
Cheshire's tent, to-morrow night, and I will be 
happy to furnish you with one of the songs of 

" Agreed, agreed," was the response, " we'll all 
be there. Sergeant ; but now give us a story." 

"Well, well— but what shall it be?" 

" ! give us something about Old Jacinto, Ser- 

"Well, then, I'll tell you how the old general 
was done by the Galveston Jew. 

"Now most of you are, no doubt, familiar with 
the character of the old hero ; — if so, you know that 
two of his most prominent traits are vanity and a 
too common tendency to overlook or forget his 
little personal liabilities to the small traders and 


shopkeepers he may chance to honor with his pat- 
ronage. As a consequence of this hitter peculiarity, 
his paper is often in market at a sad discount. It 
is too bad, boys ; but such is the fact. 

" Now it happened, that a sly old fox of an Israel- 
ite, who dealt in ready-made clothing and other 
Jew notions, and who never let any chance escape, 
whereby he might " shave a few pennies," became 
the holder of one of Houston's I. 0. U.'s, which he 
had found floating round, and bought it at a bar- 

"Hearing, one day, that the general was in town, 
old Levi set his wits at work to turn this paper into 
something more substantial than 'I promise to pay.' 

" While cogitating the matter in his mind, his 
obscure shop w^as made still darker by the shadow, 
in his door, of his friend Jacobs, who thus oppor- 
tunely arrived to his aid. The plan of attack was 
soon arranged between the tw^o Israelites, and it 
was determined to assault old Jacinto on his weak 
side. Jacobs, who was intimately acquainted with 
him, — for you know the general is noted for his easy 
familiarity, — wus to waylay him in the street, and, as 
if by pure accident, the two were to pass by Levi's 
shop. The latter was to have his masked battery 
drawn up in his door. 

" Accordingly, Jacobs wended his way to the 


saloon, you remember, directly opposite the Tre- 
mont, where he found the general, in a very 
agreeable humor, in the midst of a party of old 
friends, who were discussing the prospect of annex- 

" The Jew entered the circle, and drank to the 
success of his cherished friend, and to his rising 
greatness; and, entering into conversation with the 
group, passed part of the morning very agreeably. 
When his excellency left the saloon to go down the 
strand, he was joined by Jacobs, who easily led him 
in the direction of the shop of his countryman, — 
where the following scene occurred: Stopping sud- 
denly, in front of Levi's door, Jacobs saluted the 
clothes-man, as if he had not met him before for 
months, and begged the pleasure of presenting him 
to the ' world-renowned General Houston.' 

" The little black eyes of the Jew snapped fire, 
with surprise and pleasure, as he rushed to embrace 
the general. 

'"Is't possable dat I av de honor to see — to 
spheak to de great shenerai, de great hero of San 
Jachinto! Oh! Fader Moses! how proud I am! 
Is't possable dat I schakes de hand of de greatest 
shenerai vot ever has lived! de greatest man in 
Texas — in all America ! Oh ! mine Got ! mine Got ! 
vat honor!' 


^' ' My friend,' replied old San Jacinto, ' you do 
me too much honor.' 

" ' No ! nevare — dat ist impossible, sheneral ; tjou 
do me de honor to spheak to so poor a shentleman. 
But, tank Got! I av de great shatisfaction to av de 
name of so great man, vich he make mit his own 
hand, on one leetle bit papier.' 

" 'What!' says Houston— 'you have my name to 
a paper? what is it ? let me see it!' 

"'Oh! sheneral, it is noting — I mean de papier 
— it is noting but von leetle note, vich I buy for 
noting but the name on it. Dat is vorth mutch 
moneys to me — de name of de great hero of San 
Jachinto !' 

" 'You have a uote, then, against me, have you? 
I have no recollection of ever giving you one. I 
hope you got it at a bargain.' 

" ' At a bargain, you say, sheneral ; yes sir, it 
cost me no more dan one huntred and twenty-five 
dollar. I keeps it for noting but de name, writ by 
de hand of de great nian himself.' 

"Houston insisted upon seeing the note, which 
was given for tlie sum of one hundred dollars, and 
which the Jew had probably bought at a discount 
of fifty per cent. After a great deal of apparent 
reluctance on the part of Levi, the note was pro- 
duced. Houston, feeling flattered by the reception 

THE crea:m of the joke. 39 

he met with by the Jew, and not being willing, as 
he said, to have his note for so small an amount 
unpaid, insisted upon canceling it upon the spot. 
Nothing but the respect wdiich Levi had for ' de 
sheneral' induced the holder to give it up ; and, 
afler some well-feigned hesitation, it was handed 
over to the general, who immediately counted out 
the amount of it into the hands of the Jew. 

" Houston's vanity had been flattered by the wily 
Israelite, who, from a knowledge of his weak point, 
had cajoled him into paying a debt which nothing 
else would ever have forced him to. And Old 
Jacinto tore up the paper, with the air of a man 
who had done a most generous and noble act of 

"As he left the shop, the exultation of old Shylock 
was as great as that of the 'done' hero on the plain 
of San Jacinto. 

" But the cream of the joke, boys, is yet to come. 

'• The two Jews, thinking the trick too neatly 
done to keep to themselves, soon enlightened their 
brethren in the same street, and from them it 
leaked out to the ears of some waggish friends of 
the general, who were elated at a chance to crack it 
upon him. Now, you know, the ' sheneral' loves 
a joke as well as any other man, — when it is not at 
his own expense. He felt lie had been done by a 


damned Jew, — had been wheedled into paying a 
debt. It was too bad ! and, with threats of ven- 
geance, he sallied forth to cowhide the ' rascally 
reneofade from Chatham street.' 

" But the Jew, having timely notice from some 
of his friends, was still too shrewd for the general, 
and had made good his escape on board the Brazos 
steamer, and remained up that river till notified 
that his enemy had returned to his plantation, 
up the Trinity. 

" Thus, boys, was the hero of San Jacinto con- 
quered by the Jew !" 

Another " character" — and an honorary member 
of the Kangaroo Club, was Jimmy Tweed. He 
was our regimental drummer; and many a pleasant 
morning dream has he spoiled by his sleep-banish- 
ing reveille. Jimmy w^as a noted personage, and had 
several times figured in print. He had been one of 
the Santa Fe prisoners; and Kendall, in his account 
of this expedition, thus brings him before the public. 
•He says : " Among the prisoners were a number of 
lawyers, doctors, and other professional men — per- 
sons who, either from a love of wild adventure, or 
because they could obtain no professional employ- 
ment in Texas, had originally been induced to join 
the expedition. Tlien there were several comedians 
amongst them — mad wags, who, finding that the 


drama yielded tliem but slender support in the new 
republic, had shouldered the rifle and taken to the 
prairies for a better. Out of such materials, it may 
readily be conceived that the richest fun and frolic 
could be extracted ; and the story of one of their 
maddest pranks 1 will relate. 

" The wags knew that among the officers and 
merchants there were some who had money ; and, 
to levy a tax upon such pockets as were best filled, 
these fellows commenced a game which, in the end, 
not only proved every way successful, but afforded 
infinite amusement to all. They, in the first place, 
fitted up an old, dilapidated apartment as a court- 
room. With two barrels and as many boards, they 
made a kind of platform, upon which, as a bench, 
a closet-box was placed, and upon this the jokers 
seated the largest prisoner in the whole collection 
as judge; — a half-lawyer, who, in addition to having 
all the gravity of the Grand Turk himself, wore 
whiskers, mustache, and hair in quantity sufficient 
to supply the wigs of an entire bench of English 
judges. A sheriff, crier, and clerk — men who well 
understood their business, — were then appointed. 
An eccentric comedian, who could speak for hours 
upon any subject, and possessed the keenest wit 
and the strongest imitative powers imaginable, was 
chosen prosecuting attorney. As principal witness 


in any case that might be brought, they fell upon a 
little Irishman, named Jimmy Tweed. Jimmy was 
born and bred a soldier. He first drew breath in a 
barrack of a recruiting regiment in Ireland, and, in 
process of time, after having picked up a fair educa- 
tion among the officers, joined the regiment as a 
soldier. The term of his enlistment, he served 
principally at Gibraltar, where he obtained a 
name, — to use his own words, — ' for being up to 
all manner of diviltry,' and where he also learned 
a smattering of Spanish. On being discharged, he 
visited the United States, joined the army, served 
two or three campaigns in Florida, and w^as finally 
regularly discharged at Baton Eouge, in Louisiana. 
To finish his education, as he said, he then went to 
Texas, and, after various campaigns, was finally 
taken prisoner in New Mexico. He had all the 
wit of his countrymen, and a fund of dry humor 
wdiich was inexhaustible. 

" Thus organized," continues Kendall, " the 
court proceeded to the trial of such causes as they 
thought might be turned to their own profit. More 
decorum, more order, or more gravity of deport- 
ment v/as never seen in any court of justice. The 
crier, in some way, procured a small bell, and, in 
regular form, called the court together, and issued 
his proclamations. The sheriff, with all the dignity 


imaginable, commanded silence, compelled all to 
take off their bats, and was very efficient in keep- 
ing the best order. The first action upon their sin- 
gular law-docket was brought against a young and 
very worthy man, a merchant, who was charged 
with being ' a great fool generally.' I am not 
altogether positive but that the first word in the 
indictment may have been a much more forcible 
adjective than the simple term ' great.' 

<'The judge remarked, that the charge was one 
extremely grave in its character, and admitted that 
he could not, at the time, think of any precedent 
that might guide him in his decision, which, he 
wound up by saying, should be a just and a right- 
eous one. The prosecuting attorney, after a few 
pertinent remarks, brought up several witnesses to 
sustain the charge. Their evidence — which, of course, 
was made up, and suited for the meridian of this 
particular court alone — all went to support the 
prosecution. The case, as made out, was clear 
enough ; — not a doubt arose as to the truth of the 
charge set forth in the indictment ; — but, to make 
all sure, Jimmy Tweed was brought to the stand. 
After kissing a brickbat with due gravity — there 
being no Bible in the court — Jimmy proceeded with 
his testimony. 

" He instanced several particulars in which the 


accused party had evinced very little foresight ; — 
mentioned several of his actions, which manifested 
great lack of judgment and knowledge of the world; 
and finally wound up by saying, that the flict alone 
of his being found in company wdth the Santa Fe 
Expedition was ample evidence against him. 

" At this point of the trial, symptoms of uproarious 
laughter w^ere manifested in court ; — all which were 
instantly quelled by the sheriff; and the judge then 
proceeded to give his decision. Drawing himself 
up, throwing back his head, and clearing his throat 
with a preparatory ' hem,' and then, raising one 
leg over the other with all becoming dignity, he 
remarked, that all the evidence bore strongly against 
the accused, but that the testimony of the last wit- 
ness in particular, view it in what light he would, 
clearly sustained the charge that the arraigned party 
w^as slightly afflicted with a weakness known as 
the 'simples' — troubled with not being as w^ise as 
he might and should have been. He admitted that 
the charge, which had been thus proved, was a 
misfortune rather than a crime; but, inasmuch as 
the times were hard and victuals scarce, he should 
impose a fine of two dollars upon the accused. The 
latter, who enjoyed the joke as well as any one, 
interposed no motion in arrest of judgment, but paid 
the fine at once ; and thus ended the first trial. 


"One of our officers, Capt. H., was charged with 
bad singing ; or rather, as the indictment read, 
' with attempting to sing, and making out badly at 
best.' A number of witnesses testified that, at dif- 
ferent times, they had been most excessively annoyed, 
even to the losing of sleep, by the attempts of the 
accused at divers songs. They all admitted, during 
a process of cross-questioning, that they were not 
exactly good judges of music ; still they considered 
themselves blessed with ears, which taught them to 
distinguish between the warbling of a canary and 
that of a crow : — thought they could discover a sooth- 
ing influence in the notes of a nightingale, which 
they missed in the braying of a donkey. But, as 
the testimony of Tweed went directly to prove the 
charge, and was a perfect gem in its way, I shall 
give it, as nearly as possible, in his own words : 

'"Yer 'oner,' said Jimmy, with a ludicrous mock 
gravity and quizzical leer of his dexter eye, 'yer 
'oner, as I was walkin' acrass the corral last evenin', 
I heerd sthrange, mystarius, and most unnathral 
sounds issuin' from the officers' quarthers np stairs ; 
sounds rezimblin', yer 'oner, those made by a saw- 
mill whin in the full tide of manufacthrin' boords. 
Well, me curiasity bein' excited, I bethought meself 
I'd be afther investigatin' the thing ; so whin I was 
ahajo, yer 'oner — which is the best Spanish I have 


at prisint about me, for the feet of the stairs ; — I 
heerd the sthrange sounds louder and loader nor 
iver. Up the stips I wint, and, whin I was airiba, — 
which manes, yer 'oner, the head of the stairs ; — divil 
a bit did it stop, at all, at all. What, in the name 
of all the saints, thinks I to meself, has put a saw- 
mill in operashun here away — for I still thought it 
was one, yer 'oner — so I opened the door cautiously, 
poked me head in slyly, and what should me own 
eyes see, and me own ears heer, but Captain H. 
himself, essayin' a bit of a ditty, yer 'oner.' 

'"Doing what?' questioned the judge. 

"'Essayin' a ditty, yer 'oner — attemptin' a stave 
of a song ; and— 

" ' Enough,' interrupted the high functionary upon 
the closet-box. ' If you mistook the singing of 
Captain H. for those sounds ordinarily produced by 
a saw-mill, the case is clear enough that he has 
undertaken a task wdiicli neither nature nor culti- 
vation fits him to carry successfully through ; and 
I shall fine him one dollar and fifty cents for the 
attempt.' " 

Poor Jimmy is now no more. On the disbanding 
of our regiment, he was received into a company of 
rangers, — for he loved the Texians, — and proceeded 
with them to Monterey. In the battle there, Jimmy 
was one of the first to enter the Bishop's Palace, 



where he was killed;- — dying, as he had lived, a jolly 
and brave-hearted soldier. 

Jimmy Byrne — or, as he was more familiarly 
known in the regiment, by the name of Brian 
O'Linn, — was another " character," and a good deal 
of a genius in Jiis way. He was also, as his name 
indicates, a native of 

'• The swatest isle of the ocean." 

Jimmy was a lively little fellow, always full of fun 
and frolic, and at all times ready with a song : — 
indeed, music seemed to flow spontaneously from 
his lungs. Sometimes, even when on our regimental 
drill, he would provoke a general concatenation of 
laughter along the line, by an involuntary troll of a 
verse of his flivorite song : 

"Brian O'Linn had no breeches to wear, 
So he got him a sheep-skin and made him a pair ; 
With the woolly side out, and the skinny side in, 
They're a snug pair of breeches, says Brian O'Linn." 

Jimmy had taken it into his head that he was a 
wonderful shot, though, to tell the truth, a hod had 
oftener graced his shoulder than a rifle. With the 
latter instrument in his hand, he was fond of making 
excursions from the camp, and fancying himself a 
perfect "Nimrod. 

On one occasion, just at night, after being absent 
all day, Jimmy made his appearance, with a coun- 


tenance full of importance, and bursting with anx- 
iety to communicate some wonderful piece of 

"Well, Jimmy, have you met St. Patrick to-day?" 
inquired Capt. Bennett, " or have you had a rencon- 
tre with the Mexican army?" 

"Nather one nor the other, captain," replied 
Jim, with his big gray eyes distended nearly out of 
their sockets. "But, captain, tell me, if yer plaze, 
sur — are there any lions in this counthry ?" 

"Any what?" 

"Any lions, captain." 

" Lions! why, no ; not that I am aware of," says 
the captain. " Jimmy, have you had a fight with 
lions to-day V 

"Not exactly a fight, sur; but, sure's me name's 
Jim Byrne, I had a siglit of one of the bludy cra- 

"Are you sure it was a lion?" asked the captain. 
" Maybe it was a skunk, Jimmy." 

" Skunk /" contemptuously repeated Jimmy. " Do 
you take me for a fule, entirely, captain ! Haven't 
I seen the picthers of the bastes: and don't I know 
a lion sure? It's meself, captain, has seen a rale 
genewine lion to-day." 

"Well! why did you not shoot it?" smilingly 
demanded the captain. 


" Why didn't I shoot it ! sure it's the bludy auld 
iron as wouldn't shoot straight at all, at all. Now, 
captain, jewel, will yer be so kind as to be afther 
giving me the loan of yer big two-barriled gun, 
yonder, and let me give the crathur another hunt 
to-morrow? Be the powers, it's raeself '11 bring 
yer a rale lion, or you may put me on guard ivery 
day for a month, sure." 

The next morning, while his countryman, Jimmy 
Tweed, was rattling off his lively wide-awakening 
notes of the reveille, Jimmy Byrne, with the cap- 
tain's double-barreled deer-gun on his shoulder, d la 
militaire, was seen marching out of camp on his way 
to "beard the Uo?i in his den." 

As the regiment was drawn up for the regular 

afternoon drill, our little Hibernian hove in sight, a 

long distance off, on the prairie. He seemed to be 

heavily loaded with something, and advanced but 

slowly towards camp. The drill was over by the 

time that Jimmy had arrived ; and as he entered 

the lines on one side of the camp, before the men 

had returned from the parade-ground, on the other. 

Captain Bennett and myself, who occupied the 

same tent together, were the first to meet him. 

'immy came up, and, throwing the huge carcass 

^ellow ivolfujyon the ground before us, straight- 

imself to his full height, threw back his shoul- 


ders, and, with the air of an Alexander, when he 
had conquered the world, pointed to the disgusting 
animal, and exclaimed : 

''^ See tliere^ now, Captain Bennett! — do ye call that 
a shmJc? It's meself that takes the liberty to tell 
ye it's a rale, thrue lion.'''' 

• This adventure had nearly proved the death of 
poor Jimmy ; — and he never heard the last of his 
lion-hunt. He was now christened " Brian, the lion 
killer ;" and, in spite of his reiterated assertion, of 
" sure and didn't I know meself, all the time, that 
it was a wolf," he could not escape the gibes and 
jokes of his comrades. Some time passed away, 
before Jimmy could prevail upon himself to under- 
take another hunt. 

One day, however, he had been absent for some 
hours, and on returning to camp, had not a word to 
say to any one he chanced to meet, but walked 
directly to the colonel's tent. The colonel was 
writing at his table, when he was aroused by the 
entrance of Jimmy, hat in hand. He at once per- 
ceived a request expressed in the comical face of 
the little Irishman, and good-naturedly inquired, 
" what he would have ?" 

"Colonel, if you plaze, sur, — and if it would not 
be axin' too great a favor, sur, — will yer lend me the 
loan of yer nagur's horse for a bit." 


" Why! what do you want with my boy's horse, 
my good fellow?" 

"Well, you see, colonel, betwix yer honor and 
Jim Byrne, — that's meself, yer know, I've just shot 
a big deer out yander a bit, and I thought, mayhaps, 
as ye'd like a quarther of that same, ye'd be afther 
givin' me the loan of yer nagur's horse to bring it 
into camp, just." 

" O! very well, very w^ell, my good man," replied 
the colonel ; "you are welcome to the horse, but 
remember the orders, and never let me know of 
your ever shooting any of the cattle of the Mexi- 

"Indeed, sur, yer may trust me intirely for that. 

tit's not meself would shoot one of the innocent 
crathurs at all." 

Mounting the horse of the colonel's servant, Jim- 
ly was soon bounding away over the prairie. After 
while he was seen returning with the horse loaded 

down with the beef of a yearling calf, skinned and 
neatly cut into quarters. However, in his haste to 
dress the animal, he had left the entire tail attached 
to one of the quarters. 

He bent his course first to Col. Johnson's tent. 
That officer was standing outside as Jimmy arrived ; 
and, untying one of the pieces, asked, "where 
would he have it laid?" 


The tail attracted the eye of the colonel, who 
sternly demanded — 

"What have you here, sir?" 

"It's the deer, yer honor," replied Jimmy, with 
a scrape of the left foot, and his hand to his cap : — 
"It's the deer that I tould yer honor I'd bring yer 
a quarther of." 

"What '/d?id of a deer do you call this?^^ cried the 
colonel, as he reached out his hand and took hold 
of the lonof tuft of hair at the end of the tail. 
"Answer me, sir; what kind of a deer have you 

" What kind ! yer honor," replied Jimmy, w^itli 
an honest, child-like simplicity of countenance — 
such only as an Irishman can assume, on an occasion, 
— "I'm sure I don't know, yer honor, — not bein' 
much varsed in tlie crathur; but I belave they call 
it the sloiv kind." 

The colonel had not another question to ask ; 
but thanked Jimmy for the venison, and acknowl- 
edged to himself, that he had received new light 
in relation to the natural history of the genus 

This affair was no sooner made known, than the 
little hunter was immediately reinstated in public 
opinion, and the little mistake of the lion was over- 
looked, in consideration of the general service he 


had rendered, in classifying a species of game, the 
most abundant of all others in the vicinity of the 
camp. \ 

ButtTimmy Byrne was not always in luck, as 
will be seen. He was not only fond of the sports 
of the hunt, but often purveyed for his company as 
a fisherman. Many a fine red-fish have I partaken 
of at his expense, — for it was only to the members 
of the other companies that he would sell anything 
from his commissariat. He had found along the 
shore of the Lagoon de la Madre a bed of very fine 
oysters, which, b}^ wading out into the water, he 
could gather up in clusters from the bottom. He 
had supplied his company with several messes of 
these luscious mollusca, before he would reveal to 
others, but his friend, Jimmy Tweed, the place of 
their deposit. 

One morning, while at breakfast, our ears were 
saluted by the most doleful cries, mingled with 
adjurations and curses. " Och ! blessed Vargin, it 
hurts ! I'm murthered, I'm murthered — it's kilt I 
am, intirely ! Damn the bludy luck — I'm ruined. 
Oh ! muther, muther — Howly Vargin, but it hurts ! 
Oh! oh!" 

On runnim? out of the tent to ascertain the 
cause of all this outcry, we beheld Jimmy Byrne 
borne along on the shoulders of our little drummer, 


who, directing his steps to v^here we were standing, 
deposited his burden upon the ground. 

" What is the matter, Jimmy ?" asked I, as I 
stooped to examine his wounds. 

*' Mather ? mather enough, sur. Look there ! 
Oh ! murther ! it's the divil's own bludy tail that's 
run through me foot. Oh ! oh !" 

I looked at his foot, and found the barbed sting 
of a stingaree deeply imbedded in his heel. 

It seemed, from Jimmy Tweed's account, — for 
the sufferer could not cease his exclamations of 
pain long enough to answer my questions, — that 
the two were in the lagoon groping for oysters, 
when Jimmy Byrne suddenly screamed out, and 
fell into the water, and probably would have 
drowned, had not his friend hastened to his relief, 
and dragged him out, with the poisonous fish flap- 
ping at his foot. Not being able to extract the 
barbed sting, Jimmy said he was obliged first to 
cut off the tail of the fish, and then to separate the 
sting from the tail. He then loaded him upon his 
shoulders and brought him to camp. 

The removal of the barb required a painful opera- 
tion, and for several days the poor fellow could find 
no relief from pain, only as he was under the influ- 
ence of narcotics ; and it was weeks before he 
recovered entirely the use of his foot. 


On the mustering out of the regiment, Jimmy- 
Byrne was "promoted" — to use his own words — 
*' to the command of a wagon and a five-mule 
team." He continued faithfully in this employ, 
till the poor fellow was murdered by Urrea's pr.rty, 
at the time of the massacre of the train near Marin. 
Peace to his memory ! 


The Army leaves Comargo for Cerralvo. — Orders for the March. — 
Establishment of General Hospital. — Old Convent. — General Quit- 
man. — His Kindness to the Sick. — Interview with the Alcalde — 
Disappearance of that Worthy. — Cerralvo. — Silver Mines. — Imper- 
fect Manner of working them. — Don Francisco Lozano's Account of 
their Discovery. — Beneficial Effects of the Change from the Lower 
Country. — Pure Water. — The Mis-sissippians. — Our Little Commis- 
sary. — Corn-dodgers and Corn-mills. — A Benefit. — " Those Black- 
guard Volunteers."— Incident, illustrative of Mexican Character. — 
Murder of a Mississippian. — Juan La Yaca. — Excitement amongst 
Citizens. — The Murderer arres-tcd. — Examination. — Confession of 
Guilt. — Mother and Son. — Indifference to Death. — Attempt to buy 
off. — Alone with the Priest. — Execution. — Change in Public Sen- 
timent. — Priest pockets the Gold. — Epidemic among Children. — 
Priestly Assertion. — Custom of Burial of Children.— Gay Proces- 
sion. — Patron Saints of the Sick. — Fees, how dispensed. 

General Taylor broke up his camp at Comargo 
on the 6th of September, and moved on to Cerralvo, 
a neat and well-built little town, with a population 
of about 3,000 previous to the war. At this time, 
most of its citizens had left, some to join the Mexi- 
can army, others for the haciendas and ranchos at a 
distance from the line of march of the American 


Here the commanding-general issued the follow- 
ing orders : 

*' 1. As the army may expect to meet resistance 
in the further advance towards Monterey, it is 
necessary that its march should be conducted with 
all proper precaution, to meet attack and secure 
the baggage and supplies. 

" From this point, the following will be the order 
of march, till otherwise directed : 

" 2. All the pioneers of the army, consolidated 

into one party, will start early to-morrow (11th) 

on the march to Marin, for the purpose of repairing 

the roads and rendering it practicable for artillery 

and wagons. The pioneers of each division will be 

under a subaltern, to be especially detailed for the 

duty, and the whole will be under Captain Craig, 

third infantry, who will report to headquarters for 

instructions. This pioneer party will be covered 

by a squadron of dragoons, and Captain M'Culloch's 

company of rangers. Two officers of topographical 

engineers, to be detailed by Captain Williams, will 

accompany the party, for the purpose of examining 

the route. Two wagons will be provided by the 

quartermaster's department for the transportation 

of the tools, provisions, and knapsacks of the 

pioneer party. 

" 3. The first division wHll march on the 13th 


instant, to be followed on successive days by the 
second division and the field division of volunteers. 
The headquarters will march with the first divis- 
ion. Captain Gillespie, with half his compan}^, 
will report to Major-general Butler ; the other 
half, under the first lieutenant, to Brigadier-gen- 
eral Worth. These detachments will be employed 
for outposts and videttes, and as expresses betv/een 
the columns and headquarters. 

" 4. The subsistence supplies will be divided 
between the three columns, the senior commissary 
of each division receipting for the stores, and being 
charged with their care and management. The 
senior commissaries of divisions will report to Cap- 
tain Waggaman for this duty. 

*' 5. Each division will be followed immediately 
by its baggage-train and supply-train, with a strong 
reai'-guard. The ordnance-train, under Captain 
Ramsay, will march with the second division, 
between its baggage and supply- train, and will 
come under the protection of the guard of that 
division. The medical supplies will, in like man- 
ner, march with the first division. 

" 6. The troops will take eight days' rations and 
forty rounds of ammunition. All surplus arms and 
accoutrements, resulting from casualties on the 
road, will be deposited with Lieutenant Stewart, 


left in charge of the depot at this place, who will 
give certificates of deposit to the company com- 

" 7. The wagons appropriated for transportation 
of water will not be required, and will be turned 
over to the quartermaster's department for general 

" 8. Two companies of the Mississippi regiment 
will be designated for the garrison of this place. All 
sick and disabled men, unfit for the march, will be 
left behind under charge of a medical officer to be 
selected for this duty by the medical director." 

In accordance with the last section of the above 
orders, the author was instructed to establish, and 
take charge of a general hospital at this post. I 
did not receive the order till the evening previous 
to the march of the first division; and no provision 
having been previously made for the sick, — such as 
hospital accommodations, etc. — there was neces- 
sarily considerable confusion in the arranging and 
disposing of the men for the night. 

My orders were to take possession of such build- 
ings, belonging to the citizens, as I deemed most 
convenient for the purpose. The largest and most 
suitable place for an hospital had already been 
appropriated by Lieutenant Stewart as a commis- 
sary deput. This was a large roomy building, with 


an interior court, which had formerly been occupied 
as a convent, but had been some time unoccupied, 
though still in good repair. This building I occu- 
pied subsequently, when w^e were obliged to con- 
centrate our little party, under the more immediate 
protection of the garrison. 

While engaged in receiving the sick, receipting 
for their arms and equipments, and directing them' 
to such quarters as I had temporarily selected for 
them, a general officer, w^ith a number of the sick 
of Colonel Jeff. Davis' regiment, called upon me, 
and introduced himself as General Quitman. He 
said, that observing I had much to do, he had come 
to tender me his assistance in disposing of his men. 
He loaded himself wuth the knapsacks and arms of 
the sick soldiers, and, directing such as w^ere able to 
follow^ him, made them as comfortable as the cir- 
cumstances would admit, in such houses as I had 
designated. He then returned, loaded himself 
again, and, wdth another party, returned to the 
work. Thus he continued the greater part of the 
night — each time handing me the descriptive-lists 
of the men he had disposed of. The general ex- 
hibited a paternal regard for the men of his com- 
mand, having a kind word of encouragement and 
sympatliy for each. 

It was in this wav, this kind-hearted and brave 


officer won the love and esteem of his soldiers, and 
subsequently beca'me one of the most popular and 
esteemed officers of the army. Having thus dis- 
posed of the sick for the night, the general pro- 
posed that we should call upon the Alcalde, to 
whom, he said, he wished to leave some orders in 
reference to the accommodation and future con- 
venience of myself, and the men under my charge. 

On reaching the residence of that functionary, 
we found the occupants had long since retired to 
sleep. Our summons, however, soon aroused the 
Alcalde, who, with much fear and trembling, opened 
the door. The hour was an unseemly one, it was 
true, for official business, and, no doubt, he at first 
took us to be a party in search of plunder. But 
when, with trembling hands, he managed, at last, to 
light a candle, and observed the uniform of the 
general, and that of Captain Sharp, who accom- 
panied us, he mustered courage, invited us in, and 
brought us seats. 

Having some knowledge of Spanish, the general 
requested me to state the object of the \isit, — which 
was to request his official influence, in obtaining 
fresh supplies of such provisions as I might require 
for the use of the sick, and demanding his protec- 
tion of them in their intercourse with the citizens; 
ending, by informing him of his — the general's — rank. 


and an assurance, that he should hold him person- 
ally responsible for any harm that should happen to 
any of my men among his people. 

Whether it was, that the Alcalde felt the respons- 
ibility too heavy for his narrow shoulders to bear, 
or not, I cannot say ; it is very certain, however, 
that that was the last interview I ever had with 
that worthy personage. I was told the next morn- 
ing, that he had departed before daylight for his 
rancho. Whether he had abdicated, and gone into 
philosophical retirement, or had joined the forces 
of the enemy, I know not. He never made his ap- 
pearance again, while we were in possession of the 

Cerralvo is pleasantly situated at the foot of a 
range of mountains, from which the tow^n derives its 
name. In these mountains are said to exist rich de- 
posits of silver. For many years, six or seven mines 
were worked, and yielded a rich revenue to the 
town — the place having sprung up after the dis- 
covery of these mines. But at length, the miners 
being much molested by the Indians, and the water 
accumulating more rapidly than, with their imper- 
fect malacates, or bull's-hide buckets, they could clear 
them, they were obliged to abandon them. The 
miners appear to have been very unskillful in ex- 
tracting the metal from the ores, and the furnaces 


used for this purpose, were of the most primitive 

I discovered, in one of my morning rides, at the 
base of the mountain, one of these furnaces. It was 
surrounded by large heaps of slag, much of which 
appeared to have been but partially melted. On 
breaking open a lump of this, particles of the pure 
metal might be seen filling up the interstices. In- 
deed I have no doubt that an enterprising party, 
with suitable apparatus, might extract a fortune 
from these piles of rubbish. 

I was informed by intelligent Mexicans, that 
these mines might, with small comparative ex- 
pense, be emptied, and restored to working order. 

Don Francisco Lozano, a friend of mine, and a 
very intelligent property-holder in the town, gave 
me the following account of the discovery of these 
mines : 

An ancestor of his, of his own name, who was a 
2^6011^ had charge of a herd of goats, the property of 
his master, and was accustomed to drive them to 
feed on the plain at the base of the mountain. 
Sometimes the animals would be tempted, by the 
feed to be found amongst the rocks, to climb the 
mountains. On one occasion, they had thus strayed 
away, and the peon had ascended in search of them ; 
but it being too late to return 5y daylight, he con- 


eluded to spend the night in the mountain. He, 
therefore, built a fire, and spread his seraiie before it, 
and slept till morning. On preparing for his re- 
turn, he observed some shining metal among the 
ashes of the fire, and discovered he had been sleep- 
ing on an outcropping loch of native, or pure silver. 
To satisfy himself of this, however, he gathered up 
a portion of the mass from the ashes, and tying it 
in the corner of his serape, submitted it to one who 
was better qualified to judge of the metal. He im- 
mediately imparted the secret of this important dis- 
covery to another p<?o?i, a comrade of his, and the 
two privately loaded a couple of mules with the sil- 
ver, and departed for the coast. On disposing of 
the cargoes, they returned with an atajo of mules ; 
and, having redeemed themselves from their mas- 
ters, commenced in earnest the transportation of 
this mass of native silver to the coast, and realizing 
large sums of money. At length, when this lump 
was exhausted, and a more difficult and intricate 
process was required for extracting the metal, these 
men had to call in su2")erior knowledge, and more 
men to continue the work. 

After being encamped for several months, during 
the hottest season of the year, in the lower country, 
drinking the brackish water of the plain, or that of 
the Eio Grande and San Juan, impregnated with 


deleterious salines, we found the transition to the 
higher region of Cerralvo extremely agreeable and 
invigorating. We had exchanged the hot winds 
blowing over the malarious marshes of the coast, 
for the pure, health-giving breezes of the mountain 

The sick, who were mostly suffering from chronic 
dysentery and diarrhoeas, induced by the waters and 
the climate, together with the salt, and, in many 
instances, damaged, and at the best, badly-prepared 
rations, — experienced, in a peculiar degree, the bene- 
fit of the change. Forms of disease, which before 
baffled the skill of the medical officers, now readily 
yielded to the simplest remedies. It is true that we 
lost a number of good men at this post, from the 
diseases they had brought with them ; but I do 
not remember a single case of disease, where the 
subject was in good health on arriving here. 

Here, for the first time, for many months, our 
eyes were gladdened with the sight of pure running 
water. No one, unless he has been, like us, for a 
long time deprived of the blessing of the pure ele- 
ment, can imagine the delight experienced on com- 
ing suddenly in view of a cascade of transparent 
water, rushing pure from the bosom of the moun- 

" Sparkling and bright, as in Eden's light.'' 


There is no music, either of art or nature, half so 
sweet to the ear of the wearied, march-worn, and 
thirsty soldier, as its mellow voice, singing over the 
polished stones and beneath the cooling shadows of 
evergreen trees. We approached the town ere we 
were aware of it, and on emerging from a wood 
came suddenly upon it ; and the first object that 
attracted our attention, was the bright gleaming of 
a tiny waterfall, — a perfect Niagara in miniature. 
A shout of "Water! water !" passed from front to 
rear along the road, as the men rushed to the stream, 
and once more imbibed large and cooling draughts 
of the delicious beverage. 

The two companies of the " Mississippi Rifles," 
left to garrison the place, were made up mostly of 
young men, — planters, and sons of planters, — and 
almost all men of education and respectability. 
Many of the privates even, as well as the officers, 
were accompanied with servants, brought with them 
from home. 

Our commissary was a little " West Pointer," who, 
as is common with men of his class, while yet their 
honors are fresh upon them, had a most contempt- 
ible prejudice against all volunteers. 

This prejudice he always carried about with him, 
and, whenever an opportunity presented, it was sure 
to express itself. Naturally of an unaccommodating 


disposition, he felt no inclination to render any 
extra favor to these men. He, therefore, soon found 
himself the subject of a most unenviable unpopu- 

Now, it happened that the lieutenant, in accord- 
ance with instructions, had purchased of the citizens 
a quantity of Indian corn, which was stored in the 
building he occupied as his quarters. There were 
also among the army stores a large number of hand- 
mills. The Mississippians seeing these, were re- 
minded of the "corn-dodgers" they had left at 
home ; and, being tired of hard bread and musty 
flour, wished for a change of diet. As a very great 
favor, they respectfully begged of the lieutenant 
the loan of one of these mills, and a small quantity 
of the corn to grind. This favor was ungraciously 
denied them. They then had recourse to their offi- 
cers, and, through Captain Sharp, again preferred the 
request. The captain was informed that " the mills 
were intended for the use of the regular trooj^s at 
Monterey, and he was not authorized to give them 
out to volunteers. The men were welcome to 
the corn," he said, "but the mills they could not 

In this state of affairs the men applied to me, 
knowing that I ranked "the little West-Pointer." 
I advised them to say nothing more to the commis- 


sary about the mills, but to help themselves to 
them ; and, after usuig them properly, to replace 
them in the same order they were found. 

On the afternoon of the same day that I had given 
this advice, I happened to have some business with 
the lieutenant, and, on calling upon him, I found 
him pacing up and down his narrow apartment, in 
a most furious, but impotent rage. At the same 
time my ears were saluted with a loud roaring 
sound, that reminded me of the Falls of Niagara, 
and which was issuing from the court ; the sound 
was accompanied with the full chorus of a '-^ corn, 
song,'''' such as I had often heard among the negroes 
of the southern plantations. 

I immediately perceived what was going on. 
With difficulty restraining an inclination to laughter, 
I inquired of the lieutenant the cause of his excite- 

" Oh !" cried he, pointing to the court, " those 
blackguard volunteers!" 

The "blackguards," it seemed, were not con- 
tent with the use of a few of the mills, but were 
determined, as they said, to give the lieutenant " a 
benefit," and had manned every mill they could 
muster, and were grinding and roaring away after 
the most approved plantation style. 

It is unnecessary to say that, after this, whenever 


they had any little favor to ask of the commissary, 
it was generally granted. 

The following incident, which occurred while I 
was stationed at this place, I w^ill relate, as illus- 
trative of a peculiar trait of Mexican character — a 
recklessness in taking human life, and the indiffer- 
ence, amounting to stoicism, with which they meet 
death, — no matter how appalling to others the man- 
ner may be. 

One morning, while going the rounds of my pa- 
tients, I received a message from Captain Dellay, 
requesting my attendance at the camp of the Mis- 
sissippians, to examine the body of one of his men, 
found murdered in the town. The body was found 
by a woman, hanging from an orange tree in her 
garden, with a hair lasso about the neck. I found 
the body lying in front of the tent the man, whilst 
living, had occupied. The rope was still attached 
to the neck, and the assassin had resorted to no 
other means than strangulation, to accomplish his 
purpose. We repaired to the place where the 
woman had discovered the body, and, on examina- 
tion, found that the man had been lassoed at an un- 
occupied house, whence he was dragged a num- 
ber of rods to the garden, and had been suspended 
to the tree. 

While the investigation was going on, the people 


of the place gathered around us, evincing a great 
interest in the matter, and offered their assistance in 
detecting the murderer. One present declared that 
he recognized the lasso as the property of Juan La 
Vaca. Others then asserted, that the deceased had 
been seen gambling the day previous v^ith La Vaca, 
and had won several dollars from him ; that the lat- 
ter had been heard to threaten, that if he could 
not recover the amount at cards, he would take it 
from the dead body of the maldito Americano. 

This Juan La Vaca was an outlawed robber, and 
a most notorious thief, who, during the possession 
of the town by us, had ventured to present himself 
amongst the citizens occasionally, without fear of 
arrest by the alcalde, whose functions as a magis- 
trate had been partially suspended. 

From all the circumstances and testimony we 
could gather, no doubt remained that this fellow 
was guilty of the murder; and search was immedi- 
ately instituted through the town for him. But he 
had left, not having been seen since early in the 
morning. It appeared that he had stolen a horse 
from a friend, at whose house he had been enter- 
tained, and escaped. 

The excitement, in the mean time, became great 
amongst the citizens, who were loud in their ex- 
pressions of horror at the deed. All were ready to 


give testimony against La Vaca, as a worthless vaga- 
bond, and a heartless cut-throat, for whom hanging 
was far too good. 

At length, after a few days, a reward having been 
promised for the murderer, La Vaca was captured, 
and brought in by a party of his own countrymen. 

He was a villainous-looking scoundrel, and the 
very one, of all others, that a physiognomist would 
have selected as an assassin for a cheap bribe. The 
fellow w^as delivered to the comrades of the mur- 
dered man, — who, that his examination might be 
conducted with all due propriety, and without 
offending the sense of justice entertained by the 
citizens, brought him before the alcalde for trial. 
The Mexican, however, waiving all the formalities 
of a legal investigation, confessed the crime ; — avow- 
ing that he had taken the life of the soldier, to re- 
cover the amount of five dollars, the latter had won 
from him at the gambling table. 

The Mississippians now returned to their quarters, 
with the prisoner in charge, who was confined in 
the stocks, to await his execution. 

I called upon him, and found him enjoying his 
cigarito with perfect gusto. His poor old mother 
stood by his side; she was faithful to him to the 
last ; for the mother will cling with affection to her 
child, no matter how deeply steeped in crime and 


infamy be may be. It was many montbs since tbey 
had met before. He bad been an ungrateful and 
cruel son, having neglected his aged parent, and 
left her a mendicant in the streets, \yhile he bad 
been leading a life of reckless dissipation and crime. 

As I entered the court, he \Yas in conversation 
with his mother, who had visited him v\'ith food. 

" Old woman," said be, " vv'hy don't you go to 
the Americanos, and buy me off"? The tears of a 
whining old woman might move them to let me 

" ! Juan !" cried the poor woman, — " I have 
no heart to ask any favor for you, — for I know you 
murdered the iiohrc Americano. You are a bad, 
wicked man, and have no right to hope for pity 
from his friends. You must die ; your broken- 
hearted mother cannot save you." 

" Estd huenaV (all right!) returned the hardened 
brigand; and, turning his head from his weeping 
mother, commenced whistling "La Cachucha;" — 
when perceiving me standing near him, he stop- 
ped, and carelessly remarked : 

*' Senor, the old woman tells me that your people 
are going to choke me to death." 

" Do you think you deserve it ?" said I. 

" Qiilen mheT he replied, with a shrug of the 
shoulder, which expresses so much with the Spanish 


race, and is an invariable answer to any question 
which tiiey do not wish to meet candidly, — " quien 

" But did you not take the life of the Ameri- 
can ?" 

" Qiden sahe /" 

" Have you not confessed the fact ?" 

*.' Si! I said as much." 

I then informed him that he would be hanged 
with his own lariat, — the same with which he had 
lassoed the American, and on the same tree to 
which he had suspended his victim ; and that in 
less than two hours. 

I watched the face of the Mexican closely while 
acquainting him with his doom. Not a sign of 
fear, or surprise even, indicated itself in his feat- 
ures ; but, with a contemptuous smile, he extended 
his hand, and begged the favor of a cigar. I gave 
him one ; and, drawing his flint and steel from his 
pocket, he proceeded deliberately to light it, with- 
out the tremor of a muscle. 

After inhaling a few whiffs of the fragrant smoke, 
he motioned me to him, and, putting his lips to my 
ear, whispered : 

" Quanto amarillo queries yara mi cabezaV"^ 

* *• How much gold do you want for my life?" 


This same question had been put to the alcalde 
on his examination. 

I answered, that whatever might be the custom 
with his countrymen, the Americans would listen 
to no terms of compromise for so heinous a crime 
as murder; and he had nothing to look for, but 

^^ Estd hucnaP^ was his repl}^ as. he threw him- 
self back with his elbow on tlie ground, while his 
hand supported his head, and was soon lost in the 
full enjoyment of his cigar. 

Soon after a padre entered, and was left alone 
with the prisoner, only a single sentinel remaining 
in sight, to prevent any attempt, on his part, to 

La Vaca made confession to the priest, to w^hom 
he was observed to pass a small package from his 
pocket. Absolution was granted to him, and the 
usual Catholic mummery was gone through with, 
when the padre withdrew. 

The prisoner was now released from the stocks, 
anil, w^ith the lasso around his neck, was led into 
the town, and to the garden where the murdered 
man was found. He walked with a firm step, 
smiling to the acquaintances he» chanced to meet, 
and addressing to each some ribald or obscene 


On arriving at the orange-tree, he took hold of 
the limb, over which the end of the rope Vv^as 
thrown, and bearing his weight upon it, to test its 
strength, measured its distance from the ground, to 
ascertain if there was sufficient space for the length 
of his body. Being, apparently, satisfied with this 
survey, he now turned to the crowd and asked for 
a cigarito. This being handed him, he lighted it 
with his own flint and steel ; and then turning to 
the Mississippians who held on to the end of the 
rope, coolly demanded " what they were waiting 
for ?" 

The lariat was immediately stretched upon; — 
the body was slowly drawn up, till the back of the 
neck came in contact with the limb of the tree, — 
when, struggling for a moment, wuth the burning 
cigarito still adhering to the swollen and bloody 
lips of the murderer, — he was left, till such time as 
his countrymen might choose to remove the body 
for burial. 

This act of justice was no sooner consummated, 
than the bells of the churches tolled out a doleful 
peal for the departed soul. During the whole of 
that day the tolling continued ; and now, those of 
the murderer's coiintrymen who had been the loud- 
est in his condemnation, w^ere filled with horror 
at the unwarrantaUe execution. Women tore their 


hair, and exclaimed, ^'•Pohrccko! iiohrecito P'' (Poor 
fellow ! poor fellow !). The citizens assembled in 
little knots about the corners of the streets, and 
deprecated the injustice of los Americanos! The 
entire town went into mourning, and masses were 
said for the repose of the soul of the assassin, for 
more than a week. 

The secret of all this was, that the gold that La 
Vaca had hoped w^ould have purchased his life, had 
gone into the pockets of the priest. 

This brutal stoicism, w4th which the lower class 
of Mexicans meet death, can be attributed only to 
the implicit confidence they are taught to repose 
in the forms of the Catholic religion. They are 
absolved by the priest from all and every taint of 
guilt, and are ready to enter the kingdom of heaven 
w^ith all the sinless purity of childhood. 

I have seen people of this class die under various 
circumstances, — on the battle-field, the sick-couch, 
and the gallows ; — and invariably with the same 
reckless, mocking indifference. 

While I remained at this place, an epidemic 
prevailed amongst the children, and visited every 
family. The disease was of a malarious origin, and 
was strictly confined to the younger children. It 
rarely attacked those of twelve years and upwards ; 
whilst adults were entirely exempt from the disease. 


It was of a dysenteric character, and readily yielded 
to quinine, so long as the very limited quantity of 
that medicine, with which I had been supplied, held 
out ; but that failing, and having no substitute, I 
was pained to see them dying around me hourly. 

The priests asserted that the disease was caused 
by the presence of the heretical Americans; and 
many of the common people believed this ridiculous 

This priestly lie was of the same character as 
that they propagated on our first arrival in the 
country: — " That the Americanos del Norte were a 
blood-thirsty race, — more barbarous than the Ca- 
manche Indians, — that they gave no quarter in 
battle, and devoured all their enemies who hap- 
lessly fell into their hands." They also gave us 
credit for a variety of other interesting animal pro- 
pensities. It is but justice, however, to the better- 
informed of the Mexicans, to say that these priestly 
inventions had no more weight than they deserved. 

I devoted as much time as I could spare from my 
own sick, to visiting and prescribing for the little 
sufferers ; and I have no doubt but that I am still 
held in grateful remembrance by some of the good 
citizens of the town. 

Almost every hour of the day, the lively notes of 
the violin and clarionet, and the popping of hand- 


rockets, gave notice of the passing procession, bear- 
ing some flower-bedecked little corpse to its last 
cold resting-place in the campo santo. 

The custom of the burial of children among the 
Mexicans is one, among many others, derived from 
their Indian ancestors ; and is certainly more pleas- 
ing and appropriate than the lugubrious and black- 
draped funeral processions of their Anglo-Saxon 
neighbors. The child ceases not to live, — it has 
only gone home. A Mexican mother once said to 
me, that she had five children. 

"But," said I, "where are the other three? I 
have never seen but these two little ones in your 

" !" exclaimed she, while a warm, sunny smile 
lighted up her face, and an unshed tear glistened in 
her dark lashes, " ! I am still the mother of five 
darling babies. 'Tis true you see but two liere^ — the 
other ihree,''^ pointing upwards, with a look full of 
hope and loving confidence, " are yonder.^' 

With them, the death of a child is not considered 
a grievous dispensation, but rather a cause for re- 
joicing. It has escaped from an evil world, ere yet 
the blight of sin had stained its angel soul. At its 
burial, no sad and silent procession moves mournful- 
ly along, with slow and measured steps, — but a gay 
and joyous throng pass lightly through the streets. 


to the sound of lively music, the voice of songs, 
the fan-provoking popping and whizzing of rock- 
ets, and the joyous ringing forth of bells. 

The little corpse, dressed in its holiday robes," and 
bedecked with garlands, and bright-hued flowers, 
the last contributions of its friends, is laid upon a 
kind of salver, and carried along on the head of 
some near relative, who occasionally brings it down 
on a level with his hips, that the passers-by, and 
the groups in the doors and windows, may be 
favored with the sight of the little sleeper's pallid 
face, nestled amidst the flowers. 

On reaching the camijo santo, however, the poetry 
of the thing is at an end. The body of the child 
is hastily stripped of its adornments, — the flowers 
are distributed among the friends, as memento morl, — 
and naked as it first came into existence, so is it 
returned again to its mother dust. 

On being called to visit a sick child, the first 
question asked by the mother, after making your 
prescription, is — 

^^ Senor Medico, (pie santo dehe sujplicamos ?^^^' 
To one unfamiliar with the customs and super- 
stitions of the country, this simple question would 
appear an incomprehensible one. But let him do 

* Vvliat saint shall we supplicate ? 


as I did, when it was first propounded to me, and 
give the name of any saint that happens to occur to 
his mind, — San Jose, San Juan, San Pedro, — or, if 
need be, let him invent a saint for the occasion ; — 
and then, on making his next visit, he will find a 
solution to the enigma. The saint he has named 
has been adopted pro. tem., as the special patron 
and guardian of the little patient. A picture or 
image of his saintship is forthwith installed at the 
head of the bed, and for the time all honors are 
paid to it. Neither medicine nor food is adminis- 
tered to the patient, without first propitiating this 
tutelary guardian. 

Promises of gifts are made to it, in the event of 
the recovery of the child ; — and not unusually is it 
the case, that not only all the fees, but all the credit 
that of risfht belon2: to the watchful and benevolent 
medico, are given to this senseless object of Catholic 


The Battle of Monterey.— Surgeon Chamberlain's Letter. — The First 
Day. — Captain Ramsay's Shot. — Captain McKavett's Presentiment 
and Death. —Colonel Garland's Attack. — Colonel Mitchell wound- 
ed. — General Butler leaves the Field, wounded. — Anecdote of the 
Soldier Myers. — An Incident. — Discretion the better part of Valor. 
— Ordered to Camp. — Dreadful Sights of a Battle-field. — Second 
Day. — Message from General Worth. — Worth's Strategy, and tak- 
ing of the Bishop's Palace. — Approach to the North of the City. — 
The Texas Rangers and Senor Gahar. — Throwing of Shells into 
the Plaza. — Ampudia's Proposal rejected by General Taylor. — 
Other and Better Terms. — Strength of the City. — Worth deserves 
the Laurels. 

The battle of Monterey has been so often de- 
scribed, and is so familiar to the reader, that I deem 
it unnecessary to repeat it in this work. But I can- 
not forbear to give the following extract from a let- 
ter written a few days after the action, while the 
glow and the enthusiasm of the victory were yet 
fresh, and the writer was surrounded by the sad 
results of the battle, as well as by the " pomp and 
circumstance of glorious war." The letter was 
written by Dr. E. K. Chamberlain — one of the most 
estimable and skillful surgeons of the army — to his 


friend and relative, S. C. West, Esq., of Milwaukee, 
by whose kindness I am permitted the use of it in 
these pages : 

"Monterey, Sept. 28, 1846. 

*' We have had bloody fighting, — Palo Alto and 
Resaca de la Palma were mere child^s play com- 
pared to it : — so say our officers, \vho took part in 
those actions. 

" The particulars, ere you receive this, you vvdll, 
no doubt, have seen published, and I have no time 
now to enter into detaii. Yesterday I gave Major 
Johnson a copy of my morning report of the killed 
and w^ounded of our regiment, which, I presume, he 
has sent to your papers for publication. We arrived 
here on Saturday, the 19th, and were saluted by 
some tremendous cannonading from their strongest 
fort, the moment we reached within striking dis- 
tance. But no one v/as injured that day. That 
day, as well as the 20th (Sunday), was spent in 
reconnoitering their positions ; — their artillery play- 
ing upon our men, whenever they could see them in 
shooting distance. No one killed or w^ounded on 
this day, as yet reported, — though the Texas Rang- 
ers were very venturesome, and, advancing within 
the range of their hottest fire, picked out, from un- 
der their forts and barricades, many prisoners. All 


was anxiety and doubt in camp. No one knew, 
save the old General, and his advisers, the mode of 
attack, yet all were satisfied that something would 
be done on the morrow, — the 21st, and all were 
anxious for the ' ball to open.' 

" On the night of the 20th, General Worth, — or 
Colonel Worth — though he should be commander-in- 
chief, marched his division off quietly; — for what 
purpose, but few knew at the time. That night the 
enemy did not disturb us. In the morning our whole 
division was ordered under arms, leaving one com- 
pany of each regiment to protect the camp. The 
object, as it was then stated, was not to fight, but 
merely to show ourselves, and make a demonstration 
of our force to the enemy, for the purpose of draw- 
ing his attention from General Worth, who, it ap- 
peared, was advancing to attack and carry some 
three or four heavy and strong fortifications on the 
mountains on the right and rear of the town. 

" Though these positions appeared impregnable 
to mortal men, every officer in the regular forces 
seemed confident that Worth would succeed ; — and 
yet they could give no other reason v/hy, — than 
that he was the very man, of all others, for such a 
difficult and daring project. 

" About S o'clock in the morning, our division, to 
which was attached Webster's battery of two twen- 


ty-four pound howitzers, and a large mortar.* with 
General Twiggs' division, including Bragg's light 
artillery, and Ridgley'st flying artillery, — marched 
out of camp together, for the purpose of showing 
ourselves to the enemy, and drawing their fire. 

" The mortar w^as planted at a distance where it 
was supposed their largest fort w^ould be annoyed 
by her heavy shells ; — and our two divisions were 
drawn up in line of battle, parallel with the greatest 
length of the town.| 

* Capt. Ramsay's. 

t This promising young officer was killed, a few days afterward, 
at Monterey, by a fall of his horse on the slippery pavement of the 
smaller plaza. 

X While reconnoitering the city from this point with a spy-glass, 
Captain Ramsay observed a small window (about three feet square), 
in the main tower of the cathedral, was occupied by a general officer, 
who, with a glass to his eye, was also taking a survey of the field in 
front. The distance from the battery to the cathedral was afterwards 
ascertained to be over three miles. Captain Ramsay, observing that 
the little window, which exposed the upper portion of the Mexican 
officer's person, presented a nice target, could not withstand the 
temptation of trying his skill at gunnery upon it. Accordingly, 
stepping over to Webster's battery, he brought one of the howitzers 
to bear upon it. The piece was directed with the accuracy of a 
rifle, and the shot — a twenty-four pounder — struck within a foot 
of the Mexican officer's breast. It was none other than General 
Ampudia himself, who quickly retreated from his dangerous look- 
out. Nothing would have induced him to expose himself there again 
during the day. The scar made by the shot in the solid masonry of 
the wall, will remain as long as that massive tower shall endure, — as 
an evidence of the skill and perfection of American gunnery. 

S. C. S. 


" Here we stood for an hour or two ; — the enemy 
pouriug into us from his twelve and eighteen-pound- 
ers, — and we returning it with the mortar only. 
Whilst in this position, our men were burning with 
anxiety and uneasiness to be at close quarters. At 
length, a distant gun on the right, followed by oth- 
ers in equal succession, told us that Worth had 
gained his position in the night, and had now com- 
menced the attack.* 

" Now^ to our commander seemed the time to do 

* Captain McKavett, of the 8tb infantry, a brave, amiable, and 
much esteemed gentleman, was the first officer who fell at this point. 

For a number of days he had had a presentiment of his death. 
AVhile at Cerralvo, being too sick to be on duly, I found him confined 
to his couch in his tent. He was suffering with a severe attack of 
camp dysentery. I endeavored to dissuade him from attempting to 
join the advance of his column on the morrow, and to put himself 
uude-r medical treatment. I have no doubt he would have done so, 
if the prospect of a battle had not been so imminent. But, with a 
melancholy smile, said he, "I must proceed to Monterey ; I feel an 
irresistible impulse urging me onward, — an impulse which I would 
not overcome. I know I shall be the first officer to fall before the 
town, and I would not shrink from my destiny. I thank you for 
your friendly interest,'' continued he, " but I cannot remain." 

I accounted for his melancholy foreboding as the effect of his dis- 
ease, and so explained to him. "■ No!'- said he, — •' I have long had 
the impression, and nothing can change my mind." 

On leaving him, he bade me farewell, with the assurance that it 
for the last time in this world. 

Poor fellow! his presentiments were but too true. A nine-pound 
shot struck him in the breast while he was leading on his company, 
killing him instantly. S. C. S. 


something. To Colonel Garland, a chivalrous and 
daring, though very imprudent officer, commanding 
the 3d infantry, he said : — 

" 'If you think you can carry that fort, on the 
extreme left of the town, you may make the 

" ' ril tciJce it,'' replied the colonel ; and at it he 
went with his whole command. But to get to it, 
he was obliged to advance the distance of a mile 
and a half, through a double and treble cross-fire 
from six or eight diiFerent forts. 

" These batteries all opened upon him with grape 
and canister, doing great slaughter. 

" The fourth regiment, with the Baltimore bat- 
talion, followed to sustain him, and met with the 
same reception. Seeing this, the general ordered 
the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi regiments of 
our division to follow,— leaving the Kentucky regi- 
ment to protect the mortar. Off they started, in 
double-quick time, through the same track, and un- 
der the same plunging cross-fires from the batteries. 

" The fort was carried by the first charge, and the 
conquest pushed on to another. In the attack upon 
t]iis last, our men suffered greatly, and fell off into 
the streets of the tow^n. 

" Here they were no better off, — the streets being 
barricaded ; and at each corner they met masked 


batteries, pouring a deadly fire into their ranks, 
from which they could find no shelter. 

" Here Colonel Mitchell, of the first Ohioans, fell 
wounded ; and all was confusion, from the fact that 
no one knew what was next to be done, nor how 
to do it. At this time. General Taylor, General 
Butler, and General Ilamer were all with the Ohio 
regiment, alternately giving orders for marching 
and countermarching, — producing great confusion 
among our officers, as well as among the men ; — 
and all this time, the galling fire of the masked 
batteries was decimating our numbers. 

" At one time they got a secure position under a 
high stone wall, and were slaying the enemy in 
great numbers, — \Yhen an order came for them to 
countermarch on the plain, to protect Bragg's bat- 
tery, which had taken a position there, and was 
threatened with an attack from the lancers. To 
execute this movement, they were obliged to repass 
the cross-fire, where they had before suffered so 
severely. The command, however, was promptly 
and speedily executed, — Lieut. Col. Weller now in 
command of the regiment; — and the promptness of 
the manoeuvre saved the battery from capture, — as 
the lancers, in great force, charged upon them, — but 
were repulsed by the first volley ; — a large number of 
saddles being emptied, and many horses shot down. 


" At this time, I was operating upon a poor fellow, 
Avhose foot was shot off by a cannon-ball ; and in a 
place w4iere the twelve and eighteen-pounders were 
tearing the ground, and the chaparral all about us. 
In this place I performed two amputations, and 
extracted several balls, when General Butler passed 
me, wounded in the leg, retiring to camp. 

"I examined his wound, and found it only a mus- 
ket-ball through the leg. The bone was uninjured, 
and no hemorrhage. He said he w^ould go on to 
camp, and get a hospital steward to dress it. 

" I started for my regiment, when I met in the chap- 
arral, Doctors Craig, Madison, Jarvis, and Smith,* 
operating and dressing w^ounds. 

" Here I found one of my regiment, with a grape- 
shot in his throat ; the ball having entered the 
centre of the lower jaw-bone, which it had frac- 
tured and shattered horribly. Still the brave fellow 
had walked from town unassisted,! and said he had 
discharged his piece three times, in the distance, 
and had killed three Mexicans after he received the 
vi^ound. This man is still living, and I think he will 
recover. His name is Myers, and belongs to the 
'Invincible Eiflemen,' Captain Ramsay's company. 

" While here, some w^agons came to take our 

* Dr. W. R. Smith, of Texas. f Some two or three miles. 


wounded to camp ; and as we were in the act of 
loading a poor fellow into one of them, an eighteen 
pound shot from a fort in the town passed directly 
through the wagon, tearing the box and cover to 
shatters, and started the five mules on a run, — these 
started the other two teams, and we were thus 
deprived of our wagons ; and our poor fellows had 
to be carried by hand. The covered tops of the 
wagons had attracted the attention of the enemy, 
and they had turned their guns upon us. We, 
believing that discretion was the better part of 
valor, in this instance, retired to a safer distance, 
where we resumed our work of mutilation. 

'* About this time a messenger came from camp, 
saying a great number of wounded had been brought 
from the field, by another route, — and there was no 
surgeon to attend to them. I was, therefore, ordered 
into camp, and performed eight amputations, as 
fast as I could get along, with Doctor George, my 
only assistant. My work of extracting, and excis- 
ing balls, securing blood-vessels, and dressing con- 
tused wounds, continued during the livelong night, 
and recommenced with the return of day. 

" I have amputated for the Tennessee,* the Missis- 

* Major Alexander, of ihe Tenuessee regiment, was wounded in 
the hip, while exposed with his regiment to the galling cross-fire of 
the masked batteries. He was indebted for his life to the fortunate 


sippi, and my own regiment, and three regulars. — 
besides, there are a number of limbs, that, in all 
probability, must yet come ofF. It seems all blood, 
— blood, — blood ! — and I am heartily sick of it. Oh ! 
what a dreadful sight is a battle-field — particularly 
one where death is produced by artillery and the 
bursting of shells. 

"But few of the dead were buried until Thursday, 
24th, — when they could w^ith difficulty be recog- 

" I commenced a history of the fight, but have only 
got to what may be called the operations of the first 
day. Though a /o?-^* was gained, and many lives 
lost, the only great advantage was in diverting the 
attention of the enemy from General Worth, who 
was successful, and capturing fort after fort on the 
right ; — yet Taylor was determined to hold on to it. 

" From its proximity to other larg6r forts, which 
were constantly pouring their fire into it, and its 
difficulty of access, it was hazardous business to 
remain there, and more hazardous still for one regi- 

circumstance of being in possession of a purse well filled with gold. 
This he carried in the right pocket of his pantaloons. A grape-shot, 
partially spent, struck in the direction of the groin, but, coming in 
contact with the gold, — glanced off, — making only a flesh wohnd. 
The 'major considers this the best "cash investment" he ever 
made. S. C. S. 

* Fort Taneria. 

worth's success. 91 

ment to relieve another in garrisoning it, — many 
being killed and wounded in passing to and from 
this fort. 

" On the morning of the 22d, a messenger came 
from General Worth, stating, that he had met the 
enemy on the plain bej^ond the fortifications, the 
day before, and had defeated them, without any 
serious loss to his own force ; — and that he had 
stormed, and taken at the point of the bayonet the 
highest* fortifications, and would have the Bishop's 
Castle — a strong fortress, — before night. 

" This was joyful news to our tired and wounded 
boys, for they had every confidence in his valor. 

" Worth also advised us to rest, saying : ' The day 
to storm stone walls had gone by; — the city could 
be taken without such useless sacrifice of human 
life;' — and the result has shown it. He took the 
Bishop's Palace, — and so neatly, and speedily, that 
I doubt if the men themselves knew how it was 

" He sent out from the hill above it, two regiments 
of flankers secreted, and from his centre, with a 
small force, made a feint to storm the palace. This 
party, on being fired upon, retreated in confusion — 
* The forts of La Federacion, El Soledad and La IndepGiidencia, 
ou the further side of the Saltillo road, and opposite the Bishop's 


the sally-ports were opened, and out poured hund- 
reds and thousands of eager Mexicans to make an 
easy conquest of them. They pursued in confusion, 
until they came between the two flanking squads of 
infantry, when the latter closed in upon them, and 
pouring in from either hand their deadly volleys of 
musketry, charged upon them at double quick time. 
The poor frightened devils, who were not killed at 
the charge, commenced a hasty and confused retreat 
for the palace, — our boys at their heels ; — into the 
fort they all rushed together, and in five minutes 
the black flag was torn down, the glorious stripes 
and stars proudly unfolded 'the red, white and 
blue' upon the breeze, and the guns on the ram- 
parts turned upon the flying Mexicans and their de- 
voted city. 

" This was all visible from our side of the town, 
and is considered one of the most brilliant strategies 
in the annals of military v/arfare. The beauty, of 
it is. Worth eflected it, without the loss of a single 

" Wednesday morning, came another messenger 
from General Worth to General Taylor, stating that 
he should attack the west end of the town at 12 
o'clock M. The hour arrived, and at it he went. 
Under the cover of the heavy guns from the palace, 
he moved down the hill with a large force of infan- 

seNor gahar. 93 

try and Duncan's battery. From his position on 
the mountain above, he had observed that the 
streets were enfiladed, and barricaded with walls, 
ditches, etc., that each hoiisc icas of itself a fortifica- 
tion, and that it would not do to risk his men in the 
street, till he had the command of these. He there- 
fore ran rapidly down under the walls of the houses, 
and commenced digging his way through them, and 
avoiding the streets. The men dug or knocked 
holes through the adobe, or stone walls of the houses, 
and out on the other side ; placing the infantry on 
the tops of them, to protect those at work below : 
and thus proceeded from street to street under cover 
of the houses. By five o'clock. Worth had worked 
his way into the heart of the city, and had got pos- 
session of nearly one-half of the place. 

"Whilst this was going on, the Texas Eangers dis- 
mounted, and entered from the fort at the lower 
end of the town,* and commenced the work of 

* Most of the citizens, fearing that, in the event of the city falling 
into the hands of the Americans, it would be given up to the plun- 
der of the soldiery, had removed with tlieir valuables to a safe dis- 
tance among the ranchos, — the wealthy retiring to their haciendas. 
Some few, however, who were better informed as to the character 
of the Americans, determined to remain in their houses. Among 
these was an intelligent and accomplished Spanish gentleman, Seiior 
Gahar, who gave me a very amusing account of the entrance of the 
Texas Rangers. lie occupied a palatial residence on the principal 


sharp-shooting from one house-top to another, kill- 
ing every Mexican as they would a squirrel. 

" Another party of Worth's force came around for 
the big mortar, and about six o'clock had it planted 
on the hill back of the town, where they could 
drop the shells into the Grand Plaza. 

"Webster had succeeded in getting his twenty- 
four pound howitzer into the lower fort, and trained 
upon the same point — where the greatest strength 
of the Mexicans was now assembled. First came a 

street, — that leading down from the height of the Bishop's Castle, — 
the street, on one side of which, our people had to dig their way ; 
and wishing to propitiate the good-will of the assailants, had pre- 
pared a most sumptuous collation, which waa- arranged with much 
taste, on a table extending the whole length of his ample court. An 
awning was stretched over the table, on v/hich was arranged the 
seiior's entire stock of plate. 

As the Rangers came up the street, he placed himself at the 
entrance, and awaited their approach. 

" As they came near," said he, '• my heart almost failed me ; for 
the Texians, with their coarse hickory shirts, and trowsers confined 
by a leathern strap to their hips, their slouched hats, andiheir sweat 
and powder-begrimed faces, certainly presented a most brigandish 
appearance ! 

"They came along, yelling like Indians, and discharging their 
rifles at the Mexicans on the house-tops, a few of whom still continued 
to fire upon them, as they passed along the street. 

As they came in front of the seiior's residence, he met them with 
a courteous salutation, and invited them to partake of some refresh- 
ment. The large folding-doors of the entrance were thrown open, 
and presented to the eyes of the hungry fellows, the tempting array 
which had been prepared for them. 


shell from the mortar, whizzing and whirring over 
the heads of the crowd, next came another shell 
from the howitzer, containing 240 musket balls, 
and the two exploded at the proper moment, shed- 
ding death and dismay over the whole square ! 
Bang ! — goes another shell from the mortar, — then 
another from the hovv^itzer, — and the fandango 
closed for the night, as it was getting too dark to 
direct the guns with accuracy. 

"At daylight, on Thursday morning, an officer. 

" Hello ! the old fellow speaks English !" exclaimed an astonished 

'•'Look there, boys!" cried another.. — " there s a sight good for an 
empty stomach!" 

'•I reckon them's the halls of Montezuma!" observed another. 

''Walk in! — walk in, gentlemen !" says the seiior ; "help your- 
selves ; my house and all it contains is at your service !" 

They did not require a second invitation, but rushed in, but with 
the utmost decorum, as my friend declared, partook of his excellent 

"Look here, old fellow!" cried a Texian, to whom he was passing 
a bottle of claret, '• you're not a ' greaser !' You must be a while 
num and no mistake !" 

He was good-naturedly informed that the senor had that honor, 
besides being a native of old Spain. 

" Well, I reckoned you warn't a Mexican," was the rejoinder ; " and 
you may always count on the friendship of the Texas boys." 

•' For three or four days,'' said Seiior Gahar, '•' I continued to 
keep my house open. All were welcomed, and supplied with food 
and wine ; but during the whole time, I did not lose so much as a 
spoon, of the valuable amount of plate which had been all the time 
exposed upon my tables." S. C. S. 


with a white flag, came into town, — proposing a 
capitulation to save life. His proposition to General 
Taylor was, that they would surrender the town, 
provided they might be permitted to retire with the 
honors, and all the munitions of v/ar. 

" 'No, sir,' said old R. R., — 'Unconditional sur- 
render of everything, and everybody, — are my only 
terms !' 

" The officer retired, saying he would report the 
answer to General Ampudia, and if he did not 
accede, they would fire a shell from the ' Black 
Fort' at twelve o'clock. 

" That hour arrived, and with it another flag pro- 
posing better terms, which were acceded to. The 
Mexican troops were all to retire on parol, with 
their small arms, — leaving all the public property, 
artillery, etc. 

" We have now the forts, — in which, and in the 
town, — nearly all the regulars are quartered. 

" This town is, probably, the strongest position to 
conquer, on the continent. 

" It has before been besieged by powerful forces, 
but was never before taken. Nor could it have been 
taken now, by any other man than General Worth. 
So say all the officers, who are not envious of his 
success. General Taylor could never have taken it, 
with this force. 


" Worth has won all the laurels at this siege, and 
he deserves them. In the United States, and in the 
official reports, however, General Taylor will get 
all the glory." 


Description of the Camp near Monterey. — Trade opened with the 
Rancheros. — Relations between the People and the Soldiers. — 
Mexican Senoritas. — Fandang'oes. — An Evening Ride. — Arrival. — 
Fandango Music. — Addition to Party of Rangers. — Jose Maria 
Luna. — His Friendly Services. — Saves the Life of the Author. — 
Timely Warning. — El Mocho. — An Incident of Blood, related by 
Doiia Serafina. — Attempts to take the Guerrilla Chief. — Captain 
Baylor's Affair at Mauteca. — Young Gideon Lee saves the Com- 
pany. — Dilemma.— Resolution to Stand our Ground.— Jose Maria 
is Dispatched to the Camp. — The Fandango is Broken up.— En- 
trance of Guerrillas. — White Flag. — Its Reception, and Final 
Answer. — The Texians good Shots. — The Jacales. — Daylight ap- 
pears. — McCuUoch's Boys. — Catching a Tartar. — Return to Camp 
with Prisoners and Horses. — Scene in Rangers' Camp. — Division 
of the Spoil. 

The spot the Greneral had selected, on which to 
erect his city of tents, was the most desirable to be 
found on this portion of our line. It lay about a 
league and a-half from Monterey, and commanded 
its principal approach. 

It was an extensive park of magnificent live-oaks, 
mingled with a great variety of other trees, many 
the peculiar growth of this particular locality. 

In the centre of this delightful grove there bubbled 
up, from a large basin, several large springs of the 


coldest and purest crystal, from whence flowed as 
many joyous streamlets, conveying the grateful 
element to every part of the encampment. The 
deep shade of those oaks, w4iich grew the most 
luxuriantly near these springs, and whose roots 
were covered with thick mosses, made chis a 
favorite place of resort in the sultry hours of mid- 

Here, stretched lazily beneath the arms of the 
venerable oaks, the unemployed soldiers loved to 
pass the time, in repeating the gossip of the camp, 
or dreaming of their far-off northern homes ; some, 
perhaps, expressing their disgust at the dull life they 
were then leading, and longing again for — 

*' The cannon's opening roar," 

and the renewal of the excitement of active v/ar- 

To this spot, also, w^ould come the rancheros, w^io 
had learned that the Americanos del norte were not 
the cannibals their priests had at first taught them 
to believe ; but w^ere huenos Cristianos as well as 
themselves. Here would they assemble, and dis- 
play their stock-in-trade, consisting usually of came 
seco and came fresco, lecJie de cahro, chile con came,^ 

* Chile con came — a popular Mexican dish — literally red pepper 
and meat. 



tamaIes,J'njoles, tortillas, imu de maiz, and other eat- 
ables, with jpuros, bhankets, saddles, etc. These 
articles found ready purchasers among our men, 
often at most unreasonable prices; for soldiers, as 
well as sailors, spend their money freely. Tiie 
rancheros found tliey had established a market with 
a set of customers, by no means to be despised. 
They were, in fact, becoming rich by their inter- 
course with our people ; — and many who were thus 
filling their pockets with American coin, regretted 
the final withdrawal of our troops from the country. 

We were on the best terms with the people of 
the surrounding vilhiges, who, as another means of 
lightening our purses, would frequently get u'g fan- 
dangoes, and invite our men to join them. These 
invitations were rarely slighted ; for, officers as well 
as privates readily availed themselves of the amuse- 
ments they furnished. 

All the sehoritas of the neidiborinar ranchos 
would be assembled on these occasions to grace 
the party. Arrayed in their holiday dresses, they 
were very pretty. Their forms are models of 
womanly beauty, and their motions in the dance 
are free and graceful as the waving of forest boughs. 

The Mexican girl, in the selection of colors and 
the materials of dress, as well as in the mechanical 
arrangement of them, displays a skill and taste as 


refined as the most fastidious of our fashionable 
belles at home. This display of taste and this 
graceful bearing, are not the result of education or 
training, but are purely native and intuitive, — 
peculiarities resulting from the mixture of Castilian 
and Indian blood, warmed by the beams of her 
sunny climate ; for, 

" AH that's best of dark and bright, 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes. 

One ray the more, one hue the less, 
Had half impaired the nameless grace 

That flows adowu her raven tress, 
Or brightly lingers o'er her face." 

The matrons presided at the tables, and dispensed 
the good things which covered them, in the way of 
eatables and drinlvables, and pocketed the change 
which was freely thrown into their laps. 

Aguardiente, indque, and mescal* were the favorite 

* .igiMrdiente is a kind of rum, distilled from the juice of the fer- 
mented sugar-cane. Pulque is the favorite drink of the lower classes 
in the central part of the table-land of Mexico. It is produced by 
fermenting the sap of the maguey, or American aloe {Agave Ameri- 
cano or 3Iexicano), which is cultivated in plantations for the purpose. 
This plant is of slow growth ; but when full grown, its leaves attain 
a height of five to eight feet, and even more. It flowers, on an aver- 
age, only once in ten years, and it is from the flower-stalk that the 
juice is extracted. In the plantations the peon watches each plant 
as the time of its flowering approaches, and just when the central 
shoot, or flower-stem is about to appear, he makes a deep cut, and 


beverages of the homhres, while the weaker and 
harmless vi?io dulce was served to the seHoritas. 

It was kite in the month of December, 184G, on 
a beautiful evening, as the sunshine was yet linger- 
ing on the eastern mountain-tops, — a small party 
of us left camp for our usual evening ride in the 
chaparral. We had riden but a short distance, when 
we met a ranchero, bound to the camp, who in- 
formed us that, at the village of San Francisco, 
about two leagues distant, a fandango, in honor of 
their patron saint, was to come off that night. We 

scoops out the v.hole heart or middle part of the stem, leaving noth- 
ing but the outside rind. This forms a natural basin, or well, about 
two feet in depth and one and a half in width. Into this well 
the sap, which was intended to feed the shoot, flows so rapidly 
that it is necessary to remove it twice, and sometimes three times 
a day. The sap, as it flows, has a very sweet taste, and none of that 
disagreeable smell which it afterwards acquires. It is called aguamd^ 
or honey-water. It ferments spontaneously, and a small quantity of 
old fermented juice speedily induces fermentation in that which is 
newly drawn, as sour leaven does in new dough. It is usual, there- 
fore, to set aside a portion of sap to ferment separately for ten or 
fifteen days, and to add a small quantity of this to each vessel of 
fresh juice. Fermentation is excited immediately, and in twenty- 
four hours it becomes pulque in the very best state for drinking. A 
good maguey yields from eight to fifteen pints a-day, and this sup- 
ply continues during two and often three months. 

The distillation of the fermented pulque produces the mescal, or 
aguardiente de maguey, — a fiery kind of brandy, which, if habitually 
indulged in, produces chronic inflammation of the lower bowels. 
Such, at least, was its efieet upon our men. 


accoi'cliDgly determined to extend our ride to that 

There had been a shower in the early part of the 
day, and the dust being laid, the road was in fine 
order for a short gallop. The dew was filling, and 
the acacia-trees, the principal growth of the chap- 
arral, being in full flower, the air was redolent with 
their delicate and exhilarating aroma. Our horses 
were fresh, and, snuffing the fragrant breeze with 
dilated nostrils, required neither whip nor spur to 
urge them over the well-beaten road. Horse and 
rider were in fine spirits, and, after a rapid ride, we 
drew^ rein at the village, in the best of humor to 
enjoy all the fun in store for us. 

We were received with many hearty and sincere 
welcomes by the kind villagers, and we readily 
made ourselves at home with them. Already had 
the dancing commenced. It was conducted in the 
open air, in the jjlaza, with v/hich every Mexican 
village, however inconsiderable, is provided. The 
music consisted of a couple of discordant clarionets, 
a guitar, and a large bass drum. The latter sonor- 
ous instrument was belabored by a huge black fel- 
low, who seemed to be especially assigned to that 
duty in virtue of the w^ell-developed set of muscles 
he brought to bear upon it. The huge blows he 
dealt it, drow^ned the discord of the other instru- 


ments, and caused his dark, but good-natured face 
to shine with big drops of perspiration. What was 
lacking in musical harmony, however, was more 
than compensated by the happy faces and cheerful 
laughter which prevailed. 

Our own immediate party consisted of nine per- 
sons, including the servant of my friend, Lieutenant 
B. But, after a little v/hile, we w^ere joined by 
about a dozen Texas Kangers. These fellows were 
always wide awake for either a frolic or a fight, and 
were equally at home in either. They were held in 
great fear by the Mexicans, whose troops had often 
been roughly handled by them. In their border war- 
fare, they had shown but little mercy, and rarely 
discriminated between Mexicans and Camanches. 

For a while, therefore, the addition of the Rang- 
ers to our party, seemed to check the cheerfulness 
of the dance ; but on the new comers good-naturedly 
declaring that they came only as friends, — all soon 
went on again, as if all present had always been 
sworn friends and comrades. Indeed, we forgot, 
while watching the happy seiioritas, as they whirled 
away in the arms of their Ranger partners, that war 
had ever existed between our people and theirs. 

Half the night had thus passed away in friendly 
intercourse, and w^e were upon the point of starting 
on our return to camp, when B.'s man, in whose 


charge we had left our horses, sent word that he 
had heard some sounds of a suspicious character, — 
like the tramp of a body of horse, on the main road, 
leading into the village. 

At the same moment, I felt a friendly hand laid 
upon my arm, and, on turning round to ascertain 
whose it was, recognized the face of a friendly Mexi- 
can, whom I had known for some time. This man 
had frequently come to the camp to solicit my pro- 
fessional services for his neighbors, and acted as my 
guide, in my visits among the ranchos. 

Jose Maria Luna was the secretary of the alcalde 
of the district of San Francisco. I then had, and 
still have most grateful regard for this man ; for on 
more than one occasion he had saved me from cap- 
ture, and perhaps murder, by his friendly and timely 
warnings. At one time, wdien I had accompanied 
him to Santa Kosa, to visit a sick relative, the 
rancheros were alarmed by the approach of a body 
of guerrillas. Jose directed me to a place of conceal- 
ment, and, to save my horse, which was tied in the 
rear of the house, he and his friends effectually hid 
him, by cutting green bushes, and j)iling them 
around him to the eaves of the house ; thus saving 
him from the robbers, who had, it seems, entered 
the village in pursuit of me. After a hasty search, 
and supposing I had escaped with my horse, (as they 


were told), they withdrew, to watch the main road 
for an approaching mule-train, on its way to Mon- 

I instantly detected by Jose's countenance that 
something was wrong, and followed him beyond the 
circle of dancers, as he led the way. 

" Seiior Medico," said he, " call together your 
friends and mount. There is trouble at hand ! El 
Mocho, with a large force, has just halted outside 
the village, and will soon be clown upon us. I can 
guide you, by a bridle-path, beyond the pueblo, on 
your way towards camp. Away ! lose not a mo- 
ment !" 

El Mocho (the maimed), as he was called by his 
countrymen (from the loss of a hand), was a notori- 
ous chief of a guerrilla band. Before the commence- 
ment of the war, he had been a captain of banditti ; 
but, offering his services, with his gang, had been 
accepted by his government, and enrolled as a guer- 
rilla leader, with a lieutenant's commission. 

Martinez, for that was his name, had long been 
the terror of the country. The unfortunate traders 
and travelers, who fell into his hands, were made to 
pay heavy contributions for black mail ; and the 
peaceable rancheros v/ere continually plundered, 
and frequently murdered by his cut-throats. He 
had also caused us much trouble, by intercepting 


and killing our express-men, and waylaying our 
feebly escorted wagon-trains. Among his own 
countrymen, Martinez was notorious as a scoundrel 
of the blackest stamp ;■ — and as an illustration of his 
inhuman character, I will relate one, among a num- 
ber of equally fiendish acts of this guerrilla. It was 
related to me by Dona Serafina, the wife of my 
friend, Jose Maria. 

At the time of the advance of our army upon 
Monterey in September, a young lad of some twelve 
or fourteen years of age, probably a drummer-boy, 
or the son of a regular soldier, had lingered from 
w^eariness some distance in the rear of the rear- 
guard, and had been captured by guerrillas, who 
like hyenas hung upon our trail. The poor lad 
was assaulted by these worse than devils, and 
dreadfully wounded. After being stripped of his 
clothes, he was left by the roadside to perish alone. 
He lay in this condition till the next day ; when, 
reviving a little, he attempted to drag his mutilated 
body along the road, in the direction taken by his 
friends. In this situation the poor boy was dis- 
covered by the kind-hearted Jose, and conveyed to 
his home in San Francisco, where his wounds were 
dressed, and he w\as nursed with most tender care 
by his family. His abdomen had been laid open by 
a lance thrust, so that tiie bowels protruded, and 


dragged from the wound. But in a few days, by- 
skillful dressings, he had so far recovered as to bear 
removing from the house, on his couch, to the shade 
of a large fig-tree in the garden. 

One day Doiia Serafina had thus removed her 
little patient into the fresh air, — and some domestic 
cares had drav/n her away to the stream which 
flowed in the rear of the house. 

She had been absent about an hour ; and on 
returning, her first care was to seek the sick boy ; 
but he had disappeared, — and, though she sought 
for him in all directions, she could find nothing of 
him. The thought occurred that, perhaps, during 
her absence, some small party of Americans pass- 
ing, had discovered him, and taken him with them 
to their camp 

The next day, however, while w^atching from her 
door a party of guerrillas, as they passed through 
the Adllage, El Mocho rode up to her, and, throw- 
ing a blood-stained handkerchief at her feet, ordered 
her with an oath to wash it, and have it in readi- 
ness for him, within an hour, when he would call 
for it. 

"I immediately," said Dona Serafina, "recog- 
nized the handkerchief as my own, that I had 
bound about the bowels of my poor child the morn- 
ing before." 


" Oh, Martinez !" she cried, " what have you 
clone ? Tell me, where did you get this handker- 

"You have murdered my iiohrccito Ameri- 
cano /" 

"What is that to you?" exclaimed the blood- 
thirsty villain, — as he turned to ride away, — but 
suddenly halting, — he turned towards her, and, with 
the laugh of a devil from hell, pointed to a neigh- 
boring chaparral, and bid her "'seek there for the 
maldito hcretico /" 

" And there indeed," said the affectionate-hearted 
woman, while tears interrupted the recital, "there 
I found the imlrecho inocente, with his throat cut 
from ear to ear, and his beautiful w^hite limbs most 
horribly mutilated." 

General Taylor had desired to capture this blood- 
thirsty and troublesome guerrilla, and parties of 
Eangers had frequently been sent out in search of 
them. Sometimes they would return badly cut up; 
as was the case with Baylor's Texians in his rencon- 
tre wdth Mocho, at the rancho of Manteca. Baylor 
was badly w^iipped, having several men killed and 
wounded, himself leading the van of the retreat 
from the rancho. He was said, by his men, to owe 
his own safety less to his courage and presence of 
mind, than to the fleetness of his horse. In fact, he 


was too intent on his own escape, to think of that 
of his men, who, but for the bravery of young 
Lee*, his lieutenant, would have been cut to 

Sometimes, weeks would be spent in a useless 
hunt for this guerrilla, who to-day would be in one 
place, and to-morrow leagues away. 

He rarely moved with less than two or three 
hundred fighting men. 

Our little party of twenty half-armed men would 
stand but a poor chance in an open fight with El 
Mocho and his followers. What should we do ? 
We had but a moment to make our arrangements, — 
either to attempt a retreat, or to stand our ground. 
The chances were greatly against us either way. 
In retreating through the chaparral by a narrow 
bridle-path, we might easily be cut off; — no doubt, 
the wily leader had provided against such an at- 
tempt. He had, doubtless, been w^ell informed of 
the number of our party, and, knowing many of us 
were officers, was desirous of making prisoners of 
us, with, perhaps, no very amiable intentions to- 
wards the Rangers. 

The latter, who, by their frequent contests with 
guerrillas, were better acquainted with their habits 

* Son of Hon. Gideon Lee, former Mayor of New York. 


of fighting and attack, were unanimously in favor 
of standing our ground, and making the best fight 
we could. 

It was instantly resolved to take possession of the 
strongest house on the plaza, — that near which we 
had gathered, — and fortify it as well as we might on 
so short a notice. The thought no sooner occurred, 
than it was acted upon, — and a number of the 
Texians immediately mounted upon the flat roof or 
azotea, while others, with their carbines, and what- 
ever other implements came to hand, were at work, 
punching holes through the soft adobes of which the 
walls were built — through which to direct our guns. 
In the mean time our horses were brought into the 
house for security. Jose had brought mine to me, 
and again urged me to mount, and away, — insisting 
upon the assurance that he could safely guide me 
through to camp. 

Upon the back of an old letter, I hastily pen- 
ciled a few lines, — briefly describing our situation, 
and saying that we had no doubt we might hold our 
own, till relief should reach us ; at the same time 
promising so to amuse the enemy, that our friends 
might approach the place and surround it, before 
their presence should be suspected. I also sug- 
gested that the affair might result in the capture of 
the notorious Mocho. This note I gave to the faith- 


ful Jose, and begged him to mount, and neither to 
spare my horse nor himself, till he placed it in the 
hands of General Ta3dor himself. This he promised 
to do, — and how faithfully he kept his word, the 
sequel will show. 

In the mean time, the confusion in the plaza 
had become general. The music was hushed, — the 
dancers were scattered in all directions ; — and by 
the time we had settled upon our plans, — the place 
so full of life and jollity, a moment before, became 
as quiet as the grave. The tables of the matrons 
were left, still covered with refreshments, and the 
torches still shed their flickering rays ; — but now 
upon a "festal scene deserted." It was, however, 
but a few minutes that the plaza remained unoccu- 
pied. I had scarcely pressed the hand of the Mexi- 
can, and motioned him away, when the guerrillas 
came in sight. They had dismounted, and left their 
horses tethered in the thickets, where they had first 
halted, — and now entered the plaza on foot. A 
glance convinced them that we had prepared for 
their reception, and that it would not long be pru- 
dent to remain in range of the Texas rifles. Simul- 
taneously they withdrew into the streets opening 
into the square, where, behind the protecting angles 
of the houses, they could more safely reconnoitre the 
building we were occupying. A short time elapsed, 


when two of the guerrillas entered the plaza, in front 
of our position, bearing a white flag on the end of a 

We were yet busily engaged making the neces- 
sary openings through the walls, and w^ere willing 
to delay the attack till all our arrangements were 
completed. Stopping in front of our station, — the 
bearer of the flag hailed us, and demanded an uncon- 
ditional surrender, — on compliance with which we 
were promised our lives, and the treatment of pris- 
oners of war. 

" We know your number is small," said he, "and 
it will be useless for you to attempt to hold out 
against us. Your escape is impossible." 

" Return in fifteen minutes," we replied, " and 
you shall have our answer." 

In this they acquiesced, and retired. This was all 
the time we required to complete our plans of de- 
fense ; — and scarcely had the time elapsed, — when 
the flasf returned and demanded the answer. 

" There it is, you thieving cut-throat !" exclaimed 
a Ranger from the roof, — and, at the instant, the 
crash of a rifle was heard, — and the flag-bearer fell, 
with half an ounce of Texas lead in his brains. 

To us below, this was an unexpected termination 
of the parley ; — but as guerrillas had never yet 
respected the white flag, and the Texians were well 


aware they never Intended to give quarter where 
they had the advantage — or in this instance to keep 
terms with us, — they dedared this was the only 
proper answer to return the cowardly rascals. Had 
they been any others than guerrillas, I should have 
doubted the polic}^ as well as honesty and humanity 
of this reception of their flag. But the Mexicans 
had set the example, on more than one occasion, of 
not recognizing the sanctity of the bandera hianca, 
not only with the Texians, but also with our own 
army. In this case I have no doubt our Texian 
comrade was right, and returned the only answer 
suited to the emergency. 

We afterwards learned, they had (as they sup- 
posed) so efFectually cut off our retreat, that it was 
impossible for any one to escape and bring relief; — 
and, if we took to cover, w^e would be easily routed 
by their overwhelming numbers. But deeming, as 
is characteristic of the Mexicans, that " the better 
part of valor is discretion," — they hoped to bring us 
to terms without the risk of an attack. 

They knew with w^hom they had to contend, and 
proposed terms, wiiich they had no idea of ob- 

We remembered the affair of Mier ; and had re- 
solved to fight to the last man, and, should it be 
necessary, share the fate of the little band of heroes 


of the Alamo. Better thus, than to fall into the 
hands of these merciless wretches alive, and after- 
ward to be murdered in cold blood. Besides, we 
knew if Jose had eluded them, and reached the 
camp, we would soon be joined by that prince of 
Rangers, Ben M'CuUoch, and his brave boys, — when 
we would have the game in our own hands. 

The fall of the flag was received with a savage 
yell of disapprobation, so loud and prolonged, as to 
give us some idea of the number of blood-thirsty 
throats that gave vent to it. 

Simultaneously, a rush was made along the side 
of the square, but at the expense of a good number 
of the guerrillas, — who fell from the unerring fire of 
the Rangers stationed on the roof. Tlie object of 
the rush, evidently, was to gain the houses in front. 
Those of us who were armed only wdth side-arms, 
had taken our station below, to be in readiness to 
repel any assault that might be attempted upon the 
doors and windows from the street. The houses in 
the rear of us were soon occupied, — as well as those 
on the opposite side of the plaza, — from whence 
they opened a scattering fire upon our roof and 

Their fire, however, was without effect, as the 
walls of our house were carried up about four feet 
above the level of the roof, forming a parapet, and 


thus affording a good breastwork to our friends, — 
who were exposed only when they stood erect, or 
were in the act of taking sight along their carbines, 
at the assailants. 

The windows were partially protected by oaken 
shutters, and we had further strengthened them by 
barricades of stones, torn from a partition wall 
within the house. The heavy oaken doors were 
bullet-proof. The Mexicans' badly-loaded e.scope^«5 
sent the balls wide of the mark, while our carbines 
and rifles counted at every spring of the trigger, as 
a" greaser's" head chanced to show within range of 

On each side of us, separated by a narrow alley, 
stood a jacaU or thatched roofed and reed-built 
house, the materials of which were of the most 
combustible nature. These we feared the black 
devils might be prompted to put fire to, and force 
us by the heat to abandon our shelter. In fact, 
we soon discovered such w^as their object. As the 
torches, which had served to light up i\\e fandango, 
were not yet extinguished, they attempted to use 
them for that purpose, — but most signally failed in 
the attempt ; for whoever essayed to approach 
them, were made to bite the dust. At length, see- 
ing nothing could be accomplished in that quarter, 
the lights were permitted to burn on unmolested. 


This was what we desired, as they lighted up the 
plaza for us, and showed us the enemy, whenever he 
ventured to expose himself in front. 

Thus matters stood between us for some time ; 
the Mexicans, no doubt, concluding to defer an as- 
sault upon our stronghold till daylight, when, per- 
haps, they might be able to bring other means to 
bear ao^ainst us. 

The morning mists began to show themselves 
upon the crest of the Camanche peak, and the ad- 
vance messengers of day glimmered beyond the 
Sierra Madre. If relief was coming at all, it must 
be at hand. Jose was familiar with every inch of 
the ground, and must have long since arrived at the 
camp. He had been gone quite two and a half 
hours, and time enough had elapsed to bring our 

But, hark ! — w4iat do we hear ? It is a sound like 
the cautious tread of approaching horsemen. The 
quick ears of the enemy, too, have heard it ; — but, 
before they have time to evacuate the houses, and 
retreat to their horses, they find themselves sur- 
rounded by — M- Cullocli' s Boys. 

" The Kangers I the Rangers ! Hurrah for the 
Rangers!" — and we rushed out to meet our friends, 
who, with our numbers, w^ere now more than a 
match for the guerrillas. The tables were turned, 


and the Mexicans now discovered that they had 
^^ Caught a Tartar ;'''' — the besieged had now become 
the besieging party ; — sic transit gloria. 

Knowing that it would not improve their terms 
of surrender, to fire upon us now, they remained 
quiet, and proposed to throw down their arms if we 
would give them quarter. 

This, of course, we consented to do. They were 
ordered into the plaza, where we proceeded to 
relieve them first of their escopetas, which were ren- 
dered harmless by being doubled around the corners 
of the houses, — then the contents of their pouches 
went to flavor some of the nearest wells. Their 
knives and pistols were transferred to the belts of 
the Rangers. The horses, to the number of two 
hundred and twelve, suddenly changed owners ; and 
as the full rays of the morning sun poured down the 
mountain-side, — lighted up its rugged cliffs, and 
deep ravines, and streamed in a golden flood over the 
lovely valley of Monterey, — we started forth, with 
nearly two hundred sorry-looking " greasers," and the 
animals of their whole party, on our way to camp. 
A number of the guerrillas had escaped, — among 
them, much to our chagrin, was their notorious 
captain. He had broken up our fandango, — but 
we in return had broken up his troop. 

As near as we could afterwards ascertain from the 


villagers, the loss of the gaerrillas was some thirty 
killed ; — while not even a scratch could be mustered 
in our party. We took our prisoners to headquar- 
ters, where, on being mustered, it was found that 
Martinez was not among them. Accordingly, as 
w^as the custom of the General, he ordered them to 
be well fed, and afterwards escorted by a party of 
dragoons beyond the camp, and dismissed to seek 
their homes; — from whence, they, no doubt, soon 
sallied again, to molest our trains, and cut off our 
expresses, as before. 

The horses we had brought in, together with 
their equipments and the arms, were awarded to the 
victors, among whom they were equally divided. 

For several days after, the camp of tlie Rangers 
presented a lively scene. It was converted, for the 
time, into a horse-market. Many a noble animal, 
w^ith his accompanying rigging, was knocked off, as 
low as five or ten dollars, w^iich was really worth 
ten times the amount. Others were put up to be 
raffled for, at an entrance fee of a few shillings. 
One would stake his entire share of the spoils, 
against a comrade's, at a game of " old sledge." An- 
other would generously bestow his upon friends 
w4iose own horses had become thin in service. My 
own gallant mountaineer had suffered some, as Jose 
had obeyed my .orders, and kept him at the top of 


his speed all the way, from the moment he left me 
in the village, till he drew up in front of the Gen- 
eral's tent. 

I, therefore, selected a hardy little sorrel from 
among my portion of the dividends, to relieve him 
for a few days from service, and give him a chance 
to recuperate. 

Some of those same horses were afterwards 
brought to the United States, by returning volun- 
teer officers, — and were much valued on account of 
their many good qualities. 


The Sierra Madre. — Beautiful Valleys. — Mountain-path. — Legend 
of the Valleys.— The Black Stallion.— Lieutenant L.— The Gam- 
bler Trevinio. — Suspicions respecting Him.— Trevinio's generous 
Proposal. — How received. — Arrangements. — The Start. — The Pros- 
pect from the Mountain-side. — The Lieutenant's Absence be- 
comes Public. — Much Anxiety on his Account.— Parties sent out 
in Search of him. — Return with Mexican Prisoners. — No News of 
the Lieutenant. — Strange Object appears in Sight.— Enters the 
Plaza. — Wretched Animal. — '•' For God's sake, Boys, help me off 
this Cross-cut Saw !" — The News flies,— The Lieutenant's Recep- 
tion. — Promises to make a clean Breast of it. — His Journey and 
description of the Valley. — Ranchero Hospitality. — Trevinio 
leaves our Friend. — Continued Absence of the Mexican. — Time 
passes agreeably. — Determines to return to Monterey. — Return of 
Trevinio. — An Explanation. — Poco Descanso. — Vamos para el Fan- 
dango. — San Juan. — In a Trap. — Mocho Martinez. — Don Patricio. 
— The Examination.— The Officer unexpectedly meets a Brother. — 
An Irishman's ready Invention. — The Don's Account of Trevinio. 
— The Guerrillas sally out to attack a Train. — The Lieutenant 
again mounted; but not on the Black Stallion. — Commended to 
the Saints. — The Irishman's Kindness. — A painful Ride. 

In the rear of the city of Monterey, rises the 
highest crest of the Sierra Madre, but separated 
from the valley of Monterey proper by two parallel 
ridges of mountains of much less altitude than the 
mother chain, — yet of sufficient height to tax the 


toil of the ambitious explorer, who would climb to 
their pine-covered tops. 

Fair and fertile valleys, watered by mountain 
streams, lay between these ridges, which the feet 
of our men had never yet trodden, and but a few 
even had attained a distant glimpse of, from some 
of the neighboring mountain-tops. 

Those who had been so fortunate, told wonderful 
stories of the beautiful landscapes, spotted here and 
there with white-walled ranclios glistening in the 
sun, — of silver-gleaming waterfalls leaping down 
the mountain-sides, — and rich pastures, enlivened 
by flocks of goats, and herds of black cattle. 

Imagination could easily build, beyond these un- 
explored sierras, Edens of unsurpassed beauty and 
richness. Many a longing eye had rested upon 
those mountain-tops with a wish to behold what 
lay hid beyond. But of all our little army, none 
had yet assayed the attempt to scale those almost 
precipitous heights. 

Standing in the plaza of Monterey and looking 
along the mountain, the eye could, at first, see 
nothing like a road ascending its rugged side ; but, 
after a steady gaze for a moment, one might detect 
a light line running in a zigzag course down to the 
plain. In the early part of the day, when the sun 
shone upon it, it glistened like a silver ribbon, 


gracefully flowing along a background of glowing 
green and umber. This was the only path from the 
city side to the fair valleys beyond. Frequently, 
with the aid of the glass, we might observe, moving 
along this bright line, the carbonero, driving dovv^n 
his donkeys, loaded with panniers of charcoal, or 
faggots of wood, gathered on the mountain, to be 
hawked through the streets of the city. 

Occasionally, also, little parties of horsemen 
wound slowly and cautiously downwards. A false 
step of their mountain ponies might hurl them a 
thousand feet upon the rocks below. The moun- 
taineer alone could travel this precarious path in 
safety. Few were the citizens or residents of the 
plain who dared ascend it, unless upon the rugged 
little donkeys and ponies trained to climbing among 
the rocks and chasms of the sierra. 

Little parties among our own men had frequently 
been projected to visit those trans-mountain val- 
leys, but, from various causes, had been delayed 
from time to time ; and, as yet, none had ascended 
even to the top of the first range of hills, which 
stood like sentinels doing piquette duty at the base 
of the outlaying range of the mother mountain. 

Among the many stories told of those valleys, 
was one, that had many vouchers among the ranch- 
eros, who had become familiar with us, and with 



whom we had established a trade in the small com- 
modities of the country. It was that, in one of 
those green pastures, fed a noble stallion, 

'' With si3ur and bridle undefiled," 

whose fleetness outsped that of the famous White 
Pacer of the Plains, — an account of which Kendall 
gives in his " Santa Fe Expedition." This noble 
charger was represented as being a jet-black, full 
sixteen hands high, and of most majestic bearing; — 
and, withal, of so gentle a nature, as not only to 
mingle with the domestic herds of the rancheros, 
but to approach their dwellings, and venture even 
almost within touching distance. 

In vain had their most expert vaqueros, mounted 
on their fleetest horses, essayed to cast the lasso 
over the head of this noble animal. He was ever 
on the alert, and playing around the hunters with 
motions as swift and as graceful as a swallow's, 
would dodge the embrace of the treacherous noose. 
At length all efforts to entrap him were given up, 
and he was not only considered a privileged charac- 
ter, with the unquestioned freedom of the range, 
but, by degrees, began to be looked upon as a kind 
of mysterious animal — a sort of a " Flying Dutch- 
man" or "Phantom Ship" of a horse. 

Many were the rancheros who would aver that 


at one moment they had heard his well-known 
neigh among the rocks of the mountain-side, and 
at the next would see him careering with mane and 
tail upon the breeze, a league away upon the plain. 
Distance seemed to be annihilated where he moved. 
Scarcely had the dust he made in one end of the 
valley time to settle, when again, away at the other 
extremity, he was dashing it from his flying feet. 
At one instant he w^ould be seen quietly feeding at 
some distant point, — look again, and behold him, 
with head and ears erect, gallantly escorting some 
herd of mares up to the ranchero's door. 

Each one had some marvelous story to relate of 
this wonderful black, — till, at length, the name of 
" Old Ajjollyon,^^ as some of our men had christened 
him, became as common in our army as that of 
" Rough and Ready." 

Among the many, whose curiosity had been ex- 
cited by these rumors, was my friend Lieutenant L., 
of the Ohios. He had become acquainted with a 
dashing young Mexican, whom he had occasionally 
found presiding over a monte-table at one of the 
gambling-saloons of the plaza. He was a hawk- 
eyed, deep-looking fellow, who won the money of 
our young officers, and lost his own, with perfect 
recklessness. Indeed, he seemed more anxious to 
win their confidence than their j'^esos. He was sue- 


cessful ill both, and was on terms of friendly inti- 
macy with many of them. 

It was at length observed, that Trevinio was fre- 
quently absent from the city, and sometimes for 
many days together, and suspicions arose that 
gambling was not his only profession. Hints were 
darkly thrown out by some of his treacherous coun- 
trymen, whose pockets had been cleaned out by his 
superior cunning at cards, that he was a spy. There 
were Texas Rangers, even, who were ready to assert, 
that in their frequent rencontres with guerrillas, 
they had encountered those peculiar eyes of the 
monte-dealer in the ranks of those chaparral rob- 

Be that as it may, the wily Trevinio had wound 
himself into the confidence of our Lieutenant, with 
whom he passed, as he himself expressed it, for " a 
downright good fellow — for a greaser." The Mexi- 
can related many anecdotes of the famous Black 
Horse, which he declared he had frequently ap- 
proached in his luxuriant pastures; and would be 
most happy to conduct his friend over into the val- 
ley where he ranged ; — more than this, being a most 
expert thrower of the lasso, he promised to capture 
the renowned animal, should the Lieutenant but 
wish to become his master. 

This was a most generous and unexpected offer, 


and was gratefully accepted. Trevinio had touched 
the very chord, of all others, that gave voice to the 
Lieutenant's most cherished wish. Already he 
fancied himself the envied of all the mounted offi- 
cers of the army, and looked forward with pride, 
when he should return to the States, the owner of 
so valued a souvenir of the campaign. Never for a 
moment had he a doubt of the skill and honesty of 
the Mexican. 

But there was a proviso attached to the proposal ; 
— an indispensable si?ie qua 71071, to make it a perfect 

The shrewd Trevinio was in want of a suitable 
horse, with which to cross the mountain, and suc- 
cessfully throw the lasso. He knew a countryman, 
he said, who was the owner of a very high-priced 
animal, the possession of which would make the 
thing certain. The arrangement was, for the officer 
to purchase this horse for the use of his friend, to- 
gether with an entire new set of rigging. He could 
easily dispose of the whole again, on their return, 
for the amount of the outlay. Besides, as it would 
be best to go well armed, in case the rancheros of 
the valley should object to the unconditional sur- 
render of their favorite stallion, he proposed that 
the Lieutenant should obtain of some of his brotlier 
officers, in addition to his own, two good revolver 


pistols. These last were novel instruments of 
high value among the Mexicans, one being, at 
that time, equivalent in value to a dozen good 

Another requisite to success was, that the Lieu- 
tenant should invite no friends to join the expedi- 
tion, as a party might excite the suspicions of the 
people of the valley, and thus the object of the 
trip be defeated. The propriety of secrecy was also 
enjoined in their preparations. But the Lieutenant, 
sanguine of success, made confidants of a few 
friends, who were permitted to accompany them as 
far as the first range of hills. 

It was on a calm and brilliant Sunday morning, 
as the troops garrisoning the city were drawn up, 
for w^eekly full-dress inspection, on the plaza, a 
small party of officers, who had obtained leave of 
absence for the day, rode past, and, turning down 
the narrow^ street w^hich led westward, took their 
way towards the banks of the San Juan, whose 
crystal w^aters, pure from the mountains, formed 
the western boundary of the city. 

Here, as by agreement, they w^ere joined by our 
friend the Lieutenant, and Trevinio now prepared 
for the ascent of the sierra. 

The party was well mounted — Trevinio upon tlie 


animal his friend had purchased for him, and armed 
and caparisoned to his heart's content. 

Fording the river, and riding through level fields 
of maize and sugar-cane, for a short distance, they 
soon came to the foot of the outlying hills, v^^hich 
tliey began to ascend. Here, on looking back, the 
most beautiful scene was presented to their eyes. 

At their feet lay spread before them one of the 
most lovely pictures they had ever beheld. Behind 
them, and on either hand, towered the stupendous 
heights of the Sierra Madre, — beyond, from the val- 
ley, loomed up the spire of the Camanche peak, an 
isolated spur of the main range, — while away to 
the east spread the green " valley of Monterey," 
bounded on that quarter, and shut in from the rest 
of the world, by the Sierra Alba; the mountains, on 
either hand and surrounding it, being an appropriate 
framing for so magnificent a picture. 

Far as the eye could reach over the valley, its 
bosom was spangled with whitewashed villages and 
ranches, which sparkled in the morning sun like 
gems of light upon a queenly robe. Nearer at hand, 
the city nestled, amidst its gardens and orange 
groves, in oriental repose. 

The feathery palm and cocoa, springing side by 
side with the brilliant-leaved live-oak and mag- 
nolia, threw their shadows over the flat-roofed 


Iiouses, which gleamed like banks of purest snow, 
amid the deep green of the foliage, in which they 
were enshrined. The spires of the churches, crown- 
ed with their gilded cupolas, tow^ering above the 
cit}^, threw back the morning rays in bright reflec- 
tion; while gardens, orchards, and fields of maize 
and sugar-cane, filled the valley beyond ;— and be- 
low, at their very feet, between them and the city, 
glistened the silver sheen of the San Juan, as its 
cool w^aters washed the city walls, and, glimmering 
aw^ay in its tortuous course through the valley, 
was finally lost to view, around the base of the 
" Camanche peak." 

After remaining here a few moments, admiring 
the beautiful panorama thus spread before them, 
and giving their animals time to breathe, the friends 
parted, — the Lieutenant and the Mexican, to con- 
tinue their journey, and the others to return to the 

The usual routine of garrison life went on, and 
several days elapsed before the absence of L. w^as 
observed at tlie daily parade of his regiment. At 
length, however, it became known to every one 
that he had gone over the mountain, — and even 
the object of his absence had become as public as 
that circumstance itself 

A week passed away without liis return ; and his 


friends naturally began to feel anxious for his safety. 
Fears were expressed that he had fallen into the 
hands of some of the numerous parties of guerrillas, 
who were known to be prowling about the coun- 
try, and reconnoitering the roads leading to the 
city. At the solicitation of his captain, the General 
determined to send out parties of scouts, in search 
of the missing oflicer. These parties returned un- 
successful. Still another party was dispatched, with 
orders not to return, without bringing some account 
of him. After an absence of two days, they also 
returned, and reported that a herdsman had seen an 
American officer, a few days before, at a fandango, 
at a rancho he named. That on making inquiries at 
the rancho indicated by the herdsman, the people 
denied the whole story, and pretended to know 
nothing about him, — declaring that no Americano 
had ever visited the place. The officer in charge of 
the party, however, was convinced by what he saw 
of the rancheros, that they were endeavoring to 
deceive him ; and, taking as a prisoner one of their 
people, who seemed to be a chief man, he returned 
to the city with him in charge. 

Nothing being elicited from him, on examination, 
he was discharged, and permitted to return to his 
friends. Ten or twelve days had now elapsed since 
the Lieutenant had left us; and we were not only 


convinced that we should never see him again, but 
had ahiiost become reconciled to his loss. The new 
incidents which were daily occurring had almost 
driven the thought of him from the minds of many 
of his comrades ; — when a strange-looking object, 
which had descended the mountain-path, was ob- 
served fording the river, and directing his course 
slowly towards the plaza, w^hich he entered, and 
turned toward the guard-house. He was mounted 
on a miserable framework of bone, which, at some 
former period, had formed the substratum of a mule. 
The skin, nearly denuded of hair, was actually 
pierced by the sharp points over which it was 
stretched. With staggering and doubtful steps, the 
wTctched skeleton bore its rider towards the group 
of officers, who had gathered in front of the guard- 
house, w^atching the approach of the strange appari- 
tion. The rider himself, the most curious object of 
the two, was covered with an old and ragged serajie, 
which looked as if it had given shelter to many 
a generation of Mexican vermin before it came into 
the possession of the present owner. One corner of 
this old rag was passed under him, and constituted 
the only protection from the knife-like spine be- 
neath him, — an old crownless ranchero's somhrcro 
ventilated his head, — -its slouched rim shading his 
eyes, and in part concealing his face, — while a pair 


of slashed leather breeches, such as vaqueros wear, 
but made originally for a much smaller man, covered 
a portion of his nether extremities. 

As this singular figure approached nearer to the 
group, they observed that a leathern thong was 
tied to each ankle, and passed under the gaunt belly 
of his bony steed. 

While all eyes were intently gazing upon this 
odd arrival, they were surprised to hear themselves 
addressed — not in ranchero Spanish, but in most 
dolorous, yet, nevertheless, good English : — 

" For God's sake, boys ! help me off from this in- 
fernal cross-cut saw !" 

The familiar voice of our jolly lieutenant was im- 
mediately recognized, and gathering around him, we 
quietly cut the thongs, and relieved him from his 
uncomfortable seat ; and spreading blankets for him 
on the floor, in a corner of the guard-house, made 
for him a couch, which he greatly needed after his 
long and painful ride. 

Like wild-fire the news of his strange arrival 
spread through the city, and the guard-house w\as 
soon thronged with friends to welcome his return, 
and laugh over his comical appearance. 

In spite of his galled and painful condition, 
and the mortification, which he tried in vain to 
conceal, many were the jokes which his un- 


merciful friends were disposed to crack at his 

" Lead the lieutenant's horse to the stable, and 
have him well groomed and fed," cried one ; — while 
another was very solicitous to know " where the 
lieutenant's black stallion 'was." 

One waggish friend quoted Mazeppa, and asked 
him " how he liked his ride ?" 

Another again, affectionately hoped that he had 
left his friend Trevinio in good health ; while another 
still, declared he could " see that worthy gentleman 
descending the mountain-side, and carefully leading 
a magnificent black horse, which he had no doubt 
was the lieutenant's." 

All these witticisms the poor fellow was obliged to 
endure with all the fortitude he could control. But 
at length he begged them to desist, and promised 
if they would leave him at peace for a while, to re- 
cover from his ride, he would make a clean breast 
of it, and detail every circumstance and incident of 
his journey and detention. With this promise they 
were content to retire, and leave him to refresh 
himself with food and rest, of which, indeed, he 
stood greatly in need. 

On parting with his friends on the first moun- 
tain range, the lieutenant and the Mexican con- 
tinued the ascent till they reached the region of 


lichens and pines, and found themselves in a rarified 
atmosphere, where the clouds floated in masses be- 
low them, and partly shut from their view the 
plain whence they had ascended. Then, after a 
passage of a plateau, broken by huge angular blocks 
of granite, heaved by some mighty spasm of nature 
from her womb, when these everlasting mountains 
were brought forth — a passage of but a fev/ hundred 
feet in extent, — they began to descend. Soon as the 
winds dispelled the vapors below them, the view of 
the valley broke upon their sight. 

This, the lieutenant described as being more 
beautiful, even than rumor had painted it. 

It seemed, from this point of view, to be one of 
a continuation of like valle}^s, which stretched away 
for many leagues, and were inclosed by correspond- 
ing mountain ranges, whose sides sloped by easy 
gradations down to their fertile bosoms. Fair 
meadows spread their beauties before them. Sum- 
mer lakes, whose clear waters, supplied by mountain 
streams, and were never ruffled by violent storms, 
reflected the deep tints of palm a christi, acacias, 
and lignum vitee, and a thousand flowering vines and 
parasiles, which grew upon their shores. These 
threw their protecting shadows down upon the 
snowy chalices of callias, and the many-colored 
blossoms of aquatic plants, which floated upon the 


margin of the waters. The white cottages of 
vaqueros peeped, here and there, from amidst clumps 
of mesquites and agaves. Flocks of goats and herds 
of cattle fed among the rocks, at the foot of the hills, 
or lazily ruminated in the shade of the overhanging 
vines. The whole scene reminded our friend of pic- 
tures of which he had read in fairy tales and pas- 
toral poems. It was an idyl by the Great Author, 
whose beauties could bear the tests of the severest 

The Mexican, who seemed familiar with every 
object around them, conducted him to the first 
rancho that lay in their path, being selected for 
that reason, as much as any other. Here they 
were received by a leathern-clad vaquero, with a 
frank and generous hospitality, such as is found only 
amongst this class of Mexicans, before they had 
been brought in contact with our people. Rangers, 
nor other parties of volunteers, had as yet pene- 
trated into their valleys, to plunder and intimidate 
these kind-hearted and simple people. Conse- 
quently, the name of Americano had not yet become 
a word of contempt and reproach ; but, although 
rumors of the war, and of our successes had reached 
them, they thought of us with the respect which a 
simple people naturally feel for a brave and vic- 
torious enemy. 


The horses of the travelers were quickly stripped ; 
and after a bathe in the stream which flowed in 
front of the jacal, were hitched under the shade of 
a large acacia, and furnished with a plentiful supply 
of green grass and maize-leaves. Nor were the 
wants of the travelers less hospitably attended to. 
First, they were called to partake of a delicious cup 
of chocolate, a beverage prepared only in perfection 
by these people, while an abundant repast of chile 
con came, incadillo, and frijoles, with tortillas, were 
being served up. After partaking of these savory 
messes, and having finished off with the fragrant 
cigarito de ijellejo, they were invited to enjoy a re- 
freshing siesta in hammocks swinging in the veran- 
da, where the perfume-laden breezes springing up 
the valley soon lulled them into cool repose. 

On the following morning, Trevinio left our 
friend at the vaquero's cabin, saying he should 
make inquiries among the neighboring ranches, in 
relation to the object of their expedition. 

In the mean time, the vacjuero corroborated tlie 
reports the lieutenant had heard of the famous 
animal. Thus far, his confidence in his guide re- 
mained unchanged ; but, after an absence of two 
days of the latter, he began to suspect his honesty, 
and that all was not as it should be. ,His limited 
knowledge of the language, however, prevented 


his making many inquiries respecting the standing 
and reputation of Trevinio. That he was a gambler 
by profession, he was aware; but, among his coun- 
trymen, w4iere all, from the bishop to the peon, are 
gamblers, it did not derogate from the respectability 
of a gentleman to practice that honorable vocation. 

Therefore, notwithstanding some little uneasiness 
at the continued absence of the Mexican, the lieu- 
tenant managed to fill up the time very agreeably 
to himself. In company with the vaqitero, who 
was really a simple-hearted and honest fellow, he 
rode through the beautiful valley, admiring the rich 
landscape, and the many, to him, novel productions 
of the prolific soil ; occasionally varying this agreeable 
pastime, by angling in the deep lakes, whose waters 
abounded in those beautiful enameled ^nd speckled 
trout, that so much love the pure, cool element of 
mountain streams. 

The time thus, rapidly enough, glided away ; but 
the continued absence of the Mexican, and the 
consciousness that his term of absence from his 
regiment had expired, determined him to retrace his 
path alone to the city. For this purpose, his horse 
had been saddled and hitched in front of the jacal; 
but, just as he was bidding farewell to the friendly 
vaquero and his family, his attention was called 
from them by the sudden reappearance of the 


truant guide, in company with a half soldier, half 
bandit-looking comrade. 

"ilf// jKirdo/ies, SeTior Teniente,''^ cried he, with a 
mock penitential look. " Grac'ias a Dios, toda estd 
biiena (all is right) ; at last I have found el caballo 
negro. Vamos a la silla, amigo mio !'''' 

He explained his long absence, by declaring that, 
at length, he had got on the trail of the black horse ; 
had followed it an entire day, and tracked him to 
a distant pasture, where he was now extending his 
patriarchal protection over a large herd of mares. 

Then, with an expressive glance towards the 
"greaser" accompanying him, he continued, "And 
now, seilor, with the help of my hicno comjMdre, he 
shall soon be yours." 

" Then let us be ofi," replied the lieutenant. 
"For to-morrow must find us on our way over the 

" But hold, — amigo mio ! I have had a long ride, 
with but little rest for myself, or my beast, since we 
parted ; and, seiior, you know the old proverb : — 
Poco descanso, con muclio trabajo, iireciso es 'por la 

" Well, well ! if you have had mucho trabajo, on 

* Spanish proverb. — A little pastime, with much labor, is good for 
the soul. 


my account, we will have all the more descaiiso, when 
we return. But what would you propose ?" 

" Fh'st, seuor," replied the Mexican, " Before 
we try our lassos upon el negro, let us go to the 
puehlecito* of San Juan, which is on our road, and 
join the fa?ida?igo there to-night." 

Now, if there was one peculiarity, in the consti- 
tutional temperament of the young officer, wdiich 
predominated, it was the keen relish for the sports 
of the fandango, and a natural magnetic attraction 
towards the bright eyes and dark tresses of the 
lively doncellas to be found there. 

^^Vamos ! vamos P'' shouted he, and springing into 
his saddle, soon left the two behind him, in his 
rapid race along the grassy pathw^ay. 

After a few hours' rapid riding, the three arrived 
at a large rancho, having a prepossessing appear- 
ance, from the good size of the houses, many of 
which were of two stories, with verandas and bal- 
conies in front, and a general air of comfort and 
neatness prevailed about the place. This was San 

'•''Aqui cstamos!^'' cried Trevinio, as he sprang from 
his saddle, — " and now, comjMncros, hurra for el 

* Little town. 

IN A TRAP. 141 

Tlicy were soon surrounded by the people of the 
place, who hailed the two Mexicans as old acquaint- 
ances, while they expressed the greatest cordiality 
to the stranger, who accompanied them. Their 
horses w^ere led away, and they w^ere conducted to 
one of the principal houses, and invited to partake 
of a plentiful dinner. 

The meal being disposed of they proceeded to the 
plaza, where w^ere assembling the dancers under 
arbors of palm-leaves, which had been erected for 
the occasion. The fan dcmgo was about to open, but 
seemed awaiting the coming of some other party, 
before the music should strike up. Presently the 
tramp of horses was heard, and, — to the utter chagrin 
and mortification of our Lieutenant, the square was 
soon filled with a large band of guerrillas, at whose 
head he recognized, from the loss of the right hand, 
the notorious Mocho Martinez ! 

In this dilemma, w^iere was Trevinio, the faithful 
guide, the skillful throw^er of the lasso ! That 
w^orthy had suddenly disappeared ; and it w^as in 
vain that the American sought him, with his eyes, 
among the crowd of cut-throats, by whom he soon 
found himself surrounded. Now the truth flashed 
upon him, he had been betrayed into this trap by 
that wily scoundrel. 

Before he had time to recover from the surprise, 


which this sudden change in his prospects had 
caused, he felt his arms seized from behind, and 
drawn tightly together with a leathern strap, 
fastened above the elbows. Of course, in this con- 
dition of things, resistance was in vain ; and he 
surrendered at discretion, with the best grace lie 
could command. Indeed, he pretended at first to 
understand it, as a good-natured but rather too 
practical a joke, — which they w^ere playing off for 
their own amusement, as part of the performance 
of the evening's frolic. 

He had, however, but little time to put this 
forced interpretation upon his situation, — as he was 
immediately escorted by the crowd, to one of the 
houses, where he was brought vis-d-vis w^itli the 
robber chief of the band. 

Martinez received him with a smile, in which were 
expressed mingled malice and exultation, at having 
an American officer in his power. 

Directing him to be seated, with a mocking 
courtesy, the guerrilla proceeded to relieve him of 
his revolvers, watch, and the contents of his pockets. 
These articles he transferred to his own person, and 
then ordered one of his men to request the attend- 
ance of "J9o?^ Patricio.^'' 

This personage presented himself in the shape of 
a beetle-headed and yellow-whiskered little Irish- 


man, whose dull gray eyes peeped from beneath a 
continuous line of shaggy yellow brows. His nar- 
row, retreating forehead was covered with matted 
curls of wiry hair, w^hich seemed not to have 
renewed its acquaintance with a comb since he had 
deserted from the American army ; — for the Lieu- 
tenant immediately recognized him as one of those 
honorable gentlemen. 

" Bedad ! Mister Captain" — said he to the Lieu- 
tenant, to whom, from force of habit, he involun- 
tarily touched his sombrero^ — " bedad ! it's sorry I 
am, sure, to see the likes of ye in so bad a way." 

" Who the devil are you ! and where did j^ou 
come from, that I find you in this infernal gang V 
demanded the young officer, — forgetting for the 
moment, in the presence of the deserter, that he 
w^as a prisoner. 

"Arrah, now? be aizy, darlint, will ye! sure, 
ye'r no betther nor a high private, in this fine com- 
pany av foreign gintlemen." 

"Sure enough," returned the Lieutenant, with a 
smile, that he had so far forgotten himself, — and 
feeling it would be better to propitiate this man's 
good services. " Sure enough, my good fellow, — 
you are right. But come, can you tell me what 
disposition these hang-dogs propose to make of 


"There now, me jewel, since ye spake like a 
gintleman, that ye are, — give yerself no onaisiness 
at all, — but lave the business to me, — and, indade, 
but it's meself will get ye afF safe and sound, if it's 
in me power, sure." 

"What does the Americano say?" inquired Mocho, 
in his own language. 

" He sa3^s," replied the Irishman, without a 
moment's reflection, and in such Spanish as only an 
illiterate Irishman can invent, " he says, your 
honor — that he's right glad to see me ag'in, and in 
so respectable a company of gintlemen, — and sure 
as me name's Patrick O'Brien, it's meself as is glad 
to see the like of him." 

"Why," asked the guerrilla, — "are you so much 
rejoiced to see the Americano? — did you ever know 
him before ? Who is he ? 

"Know him ! your honor, shouldn't I know my 
own brother, — if it was ever so far from the ould 
counthry ! It's me own mother's son he is, and as 
good a catolico as your honor." — Here the little fel- 
low tipped the Lieutenant a sly wink, as much as 
to say — " Leave it to me, and I'll make it all right 
with him." 

" Ask him," resumed the Mexican, " what brings 
him so far from the American army?" 

The Irishman was about to invent some other 


fiction of his own, in reply to this question, — when 
the Lieutenant, aware that the true cause of his visit 
was known to El Mocho, briefly informed his new- 
found rehitive, and requested him to answer, this 
time, at least, the truth. 

" It's a horse, your honor, that he's afther — the 
Black Stallion of the valley yonder." 

"Aha! — but why does he come armed in this 
manner ? Did he expect to find enemies among 
vaqueros and iieons^ through whom he would have 
to fight his way ?" 

Instructed by the prisoner again, the interpreter 
replied, " that he did so at the recommendation of 
his friend and guide, Trevinio." 

This prompt and correct answer seemed to have 
the good effect he hoped for, as a more kindly smile 
warmed over the dark features of the guerrilla. 

After a few more interrogatories, the object of 
which was, to obtain information in relation to a 
large train of stores, which would probably leave 
Camargo in a few days, for headquarters, — and 
which the Lieutenant permitted the interpreter to 
answ^er as his own ready wit might suggest, — Mar- 
tinez directed the straps to be removed from his 
arms. He was then good-naturedly invited to take 
part in the amusement of the night before them. 

Congratulating himself upon the favorable turn his 



affairs had now taken, the Lieutenant thanked the 
Mexican for the courtesy, and appearing to throw 
off all further concern, mingled with the dancers in 
the pkaza. 

He observed, that a guard had been placed about 
the square to prevent his escape, should he be dis- 
posed to attempt it. Again he sought among the 
faces that were about him, for the dark eyes of his 
treacherous friend ; but the latter, not caring to 
encounter one, whom he had so villainously duped, 
had departed, with the Lieutenant's two horses, to 
parts unknown. 

Finding the little interpreter, w^hom he began 
to consider as a countryman, if not a brother, 
he inquired who the Mexican, they called Tre- 
vinio, and vi^ho had accompanied him to the village, 
was ? 

" Him? Why, captain, he is the shrewest fellow, 
and the greatest scoundrel sure, of this most honor- 
able troop. — He is our captain's right bower. O ! 
he's a perfect trump of a fellow. — Senor Trevinio ? — 
why, he's our first lieutenant ; — and it's himself 
who goes over among our folks, and larns all 
their sacrets ; — he knows all about the trains, as 
well as the Ould Man — Ould Eough and Eeady, I 

Having been thus enlightened in reference to the 


friend to whom he was indebted for his present 
situation, the lieutenant inquired— " why it was 
that his captain, who was notorious for his utter 
disregard to all humanity, in his treatment of such 
Americans as had unfortunately fallen into his 
hands, should, thus far, have treated him with so 
much leniency ?" ^ 

*' Sure, captain, didn't I tell him yer was me own 
counthryraan, and me brother at that? and didn't I 
tell him, too, yer was a good CathoUc? The praists 
have insthructed him to give quarthers to all Catho- 
lics,— for nothing but howly wather 'ud w^ish their 
blude from his sowl. But, me friend, keep yer two 
eyes well skinned ;— they'll not kill yer, but, sure, 
some of the black divils will be afther playin' yer 
some ugly thrick afore yer lave them." 

For a number of days, the guerrillas remained at 
this place, and treated their prisoner with much 
kindness. In particular w^ere the w^omen of the 
viUage attentive to all his wants. Some even offered 
to assist him, should he wish to attempt an escape. 
Mexican women are always kind, especially to the 
sick, or the unfortunate prisoner, who ha^Dpens to be 
quartered among them. 

When, however, the wagon-train was expected to 
be on the road from the lower country, the guer- 
rillas prepared to waylay and attack it. They, 


therefore, notified their prisoner that he should 
accompany them, or should return alone to Monte- 
rey if he chose. Of course he preferred the latter. 
And now, in. a spirit of frolicsome deviltry, as much 
as anything else, they proceeded to strip our friend 
of his neat suit of uniform, and, in exchange, pre- 
sented him with the cast-§^ rags of some poor 
vaqiiero. They then procured the most miserable, 
worn-out, and worthless cargo-mule they could find, 
among a number turned out to die, — upon which he 
was ordered to mount. He was then tied to this 
wretched animal, as we have seen, and directing 
him by a different, and shorter path than that by 
which he had reached the village, — -they wished him 
a pleasant return to his friends, and the protection 
of todos los santos. 

To the credit of the Don be it said, he remained 
true to his adopted brother, to the last. After his 
mule had been started upon the trail, the Irishman 
followed him for some distance, and, unperceived by 
the guerrillas, put into his hands a zurron of yan de 
maiz, and jerked beef, and a gourd of water, — 
"which," said the warm-hearted fellow, "you will 
have need enough of, before your ride is ended on 
that sorry brute." 

Turning to thank him for all his kind offices, the 
Lieutenant saw that he had ridden back to the band. 


He was now left alone, to his own thoughts, and 
the long and toilsome path before him, with the 
skeleton of a mule beneath him, every motion of 
which cut like a saw. 

" But, lieutenant," we asked, as he ended his re- 
cital—" what of the Black Stallion?" 

" Well, to tell you the truth, boys, — I missed him 
that time. But, never mind ; I'll have that horse 

And now, in concluding this narrative of the Lieu- 
tenant's adventure, I will only say, — from that day, 
as long as he remained with us, he never could over- 
come a certain repugnance to animals of the long- 
eared variety ; — and a 'peculiar sensitiveness in regard 
to the color of hIacJc horses. 


Expecting an Attack. — Camp broken up. — Critical Situation of the 
Army. — Intentions of tlie Enemy — All Persons ordered under 
Arms. — The City deserted. — The Ohioans. — Available Force. — An 
Order. — Lieutenant Stuard. — His Miraculous Success. — The March. 
— Clearing the Chaparral. — Crossing the Salinas. — The Fighting. 
— The Campo Santo. — Enter Marin.— Lieutenant-Colonel Irvin. — A 
Good Supper. — Irvin's Commissary. — Burning of the Train. — 
Lieutenant Barbour. — Major Gaines' Surrender at El Salada. — 
Urrea and Canales. — No Quarters to the Drivers of the Train. — 
Four or five Drivers escape. — The Escort, Prisoners of War. — 
Burning Stores. — An Incident. — Act of Bravery. — Return March. 
— Encamp at Agua Frio. — Finding a Key. — x\n Act of Courtesy ; 
how returned. — Tenga miLchisshno guidado.— An Intended Attack. 
— Resumption of the March. — Exhausted Condition of the Com- 
mand. — Firing in the Rear. — The Hollow Square. — Col. Morgan. 
— Charges of the Lancers. — Captain Graham. — The Last Shot. — 
Our Dead. — Arrive at the Citadel. 

During the month of February, and a few days 
previous to the decisive fight at Bueiia Vista, the 
small party left in defense of the stores, and hospitals, 
at Monterey, were in momentary expectation of an 
attack from the enemy, who, in large numbers, were 
occupying all the approaches to the city. The dust 


rising from their movements was discovered in every 
direction ; and at niglit their signal-fires were gleam- 
ing from every mountain-side and hill-top for leagues 
around us. The camp, which had so long been 
pitched in the beautiful woods of Santo Diego, had 
been broken up ; and the handful of troops, who, 
for some weeks, had been its occupants, had marched 
into the citadel. All, with the exception of the 
First Ohioans, had sought the sheltering walls of 
that fortress. 

None could tell what would be the fate of our 
noble little army, at the pass of Buena Vista, w^iere 
it was known a battle was inevitable. But all felt, 
that upon the result of that fight depended our own 

The enemy, as w^e had learned by the prisoners 
our scouts had brought in, as well as by intercepted 
orders, had determined to make a simultaneous 
attack upon all the posts along the line, from the 
mouth of the Rio Grande to Saltillo, in the event of 
routing our small force at Buena Vista. 

All persons in any way connected with our army, 
— sutlers, clerks, w^riters, and even the black-legs 
and pickpockets, who had followed in our wake — 
were mustered, and required, under penalty, to arm 
themselves for the general defense, and enrolled, for 
the time, in the different corps. All the horses of 


the citizens which could be found, had been pressed 
into our service. Nearly all the foreign residents 
had sought shelter in the citadel, or had also en- 
rolled themselves with us. The Mexican citizens 
had privately left the city, in small detached num- 
bers, and in the night, to swell the forces around 

At length the city was deserted ; scarcely a 
family was to be found within its limits. Desola- 
tion seemed to brood over the place. The vacant 
dwellings echoed, with a foreboding sound, the 
footfall of the horseman, as he traversed the streets 
from the plaza to the citadel. 

The Ohioans were the sole occupants of the town. 
These were left to guard the remaining stores, 
which could not be received into the narrow limits 
of the fort. 

They were to hold the plaza as long as possible, 
should an attack be made, and when no longer able 
to hold their position, to set fire to the stores and 
fall back into the citadel. The house-tops about 
the plaza were occupied by these troops during the 
day, who could from thence reconnoitre the Mexi- 
cans, as they presented themselves beyond the river, 
and on the principal avenues leading to the city. 
They more than quintupled our little force, and 
had they been any other, than troops of the 


Mexican army, would have ventured the attack 

Our enth'e force within the citadel, including such 
supernumeraries as had been hastily armed, together 
with the battalion of Ohioans, all counted, did not 
amount to six hundred men; and these, by the ex- 
cessive hard duty which, for more than a week, had 
deprived us of the necessary sleep and food — for 
we had no time to prepare the latter, being day and 
night, continually, on the alert, — but illy prepared 
us for a long continued struggle, had a well-con- 
certed and continued attack been made. Such 
was the state of affairs when, one afternoon, an 
order from Colonel Ormsby, who commanded at the 
citadel, was received by us in the plaza, to prepare 
in haste, for a forced march upon the town of Marin, 
while our position in the city was to be occupied 
by other troops. 

Lieutenant Stuard, of the Second Ohioans, had 
almost miraculously cut his way through the masses 
of the enemy, as they covered the road, for more 
than twenty-five miles, and arrived at the citadel. 
Mounted on an extremely fleet animal, he had left 
the command to which he was attached, a small 
party of one hundred and twenty-five men, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel L^vin, which had been attacked 
in the town of Marin, and were already surrounded. 


and pent up in the plaza. This small party, the 
Lieutenant stated, were, when he leffc, barricading 
the streets leading into the plaza, and fortifying 
against a force of between 2,000 and 3,000 regular 
troops and guerrillas, under the Mexican General, 
Urrea. He also stated that Irvin had so skillfully 
planned his defenses, that if his ammunition held 
out, he could maintain the position till relief, for 
which he asked, should arrive. 

Stuard's success in reaching us, was indeed 
miraculous, for it was a race through the gauntlets, 
from the moment he left the barricades in Marin 
till he arrived at the fort. At one time he had his 
cap shot from his head ; at another, a stirrup-strap 
was cut away, — then his bridle-reins were parted by 
a bullet. The iron scabbard of his sabre was so 
dented by balls, as to render it impossible to draw 
the blade. Twice his revolver was brought into 
service to free his bridle from the grasp of Mexi- 
cans, who sprang from the chaparral to arrest 
his course. Once an attempt was made to lasso his 
horse, which he frustrated by suddenly checking 
him, and shooting down the guerrilla who attempted 
it. Finally, his noble animal unhurt, and himself 
but slightly wounded in his bridle-hand, he reached 
the citadel. 

Forthwith, the above order was issued, and two 


companies of the First Oliioans, with two com- 
panies of First Kentuckians, were soon on the 
march to the relief of our friends. 

The day was fine, but the roads were excessively 
dry and dusty, and our men much exhausted by the 
fatigue of the last few days' extraordinary duty. 
But now fatigue was forgotten in the excitement 
of a prospect of meeting with the "yellow skins," 
and a fight. We all knew the imminent necessity of 
immediate reenforcement to our friends, who were, 
even then, perhaps, discharging their last round of 

By sunset, \yg had reached the ford of Agua Frio, 
where it v/as intended to order a halt to breathe 
the infantry ; but raising a shout, they begged to be 
allowed to proceed. We had passed Agua Frio 
some two or three miles, w^hen darkness overtook 
us ; and here the road which, for some miles before, 
had passed over a kind of prairie, now became 
hemmed in on either side by dense thickets of 
chaparral, which had a somewhat suspicious ap- 

Shortly after entering this gloomy portion of the 
road, our ad\ anced scouts returned, and reported a 
large body of the enemy, drawn up under cover of 
the chaparral, on the right and left. 

]\rajor Sheppard ordered a halt, and requested the 


writer to ride back to the centre, and order the 
officer, in charge of the four-pounders, to move up 
with his pieces, charged with canister shot, and 
open the way, by directing a discharge in the line 
of the road, and right and left into the thickets. 
This order being promptly and rapidly obeyed, it 
was amusing to hear the hurry the enemy made to 
vamos out of the range of the leaden hail. This 
firing was continued at intervals often minutes, till 
we reached the Rio Salinas. 

Here we found the enemy had preceded us, and 
crossed the stream in advance. However, contrary 
to our expectation, they made no attempt to pre- 
vent our passage. 

After fording the Salinas, we again came upon 
more open ground ; but the darkness being so great, 
we could not distinguish objects at any distance. 

We now heard the firing at Marin, and knew our 
friends were fighting, and no doubt holding their 
own. Soon, however, the firing ceased, and fears 
were entertained that their ammunition had given 
out. Such, it appeared afterwards, was the case ; 
but the enemy was not aware of the fact, and hesi- 
tated to force the barricades. Besides, the ]\[exi- 
cans knew we were approaching, and opened a 
discharge of musketry upon us, from the clamps of 
chaparral as we moved on towards town. But a 


few roiincls of grape and canister quickly silenced 
the firing, and caused them to fall back • when the 
order was given to move in double-cjuick time ; and 
at the top of our speed, we drove them before us 
towards the place. 

By this time the moon, which for some hours had 
been hidden behind a heavy mass of dark clouds, par- 
tially peeped forth, and revealed the road before 
us, and the towm, about a quarter of a mile distant. 
Plere we expected to find the enemy, now joined by 
those who had retreated before us, drawn up in line 
to dispute the passage. But no enemy was to be dis- 
covered. There were two entrances into the town, 
in the direction we w^ere moving. These w^ere two 
streets, diverging from the campo sa7ito (burial- 
ground), flanked on each side by high walls. The 
camiw santo, also surrounded by massive walls, 
formed the point of divergence, and enfiladed the 
main road. Before advancing further. Major Shep- 
pard wished to ascertain if the enemy had taken 
position at this point, and, accordingly, ordered the 
writer to advance and reconnoitre the place. 

This was a very important position, and we had 
no doubt the Mexican general would have seen its 
value, and have availed himself of it. From this 
point he might have occasioned us much trouble — 
being completely sheltered from our artillery, he 


might have rained down a shower of bullets, which 
our little force could not have withstood. 

I must confess I approached the place with any- 
thing but pleasurable emotions, as I was in mo- 
mentary expectation of a volley of musketry from 
the formidable-looking walls. But as I rode up, I 
could detect no embrasures in the wall, which was 
too high to be overlooked. I raised myself, with 
my foot in the saddle, while my well-trained animal 
remained perfectly quiet. Still I was not high 
enough ; but feeling with one foot, I found a lodg- 
ment for the toe of my boot on a portion of the cor- 
nice, or ornamental coping, and, with some little 
exertion, was enabled to look over. Much to my 
relief, I acknowledge, I found the place vacant. 
Descending to my saddle, I returned to the major, 
and reported accordingly. 

The Mexicans, not caring to join issue with our 
artillery, had retired without further demonstra- 
tions, and had drawn up on the other side of the 
town, while we entered the plaza over the now 
partially-removed barricades. 

At this moment, the moon rose clear and bricrht 
above the heavy bank of clouds, which had obscured 
her disk all night, as if to illuminate the joyful 
reception which awaited us from the besieged, and 
a happy omen to our union of forces. Three times 


three as hearty cheers as ever rolled forth upon the 
ear of night, now welcomed us to our friends, whose 
cause for rejoicing was great indeed. Surrounded 
by thousands of the dastardly cut-throats, and the 
last shot expended, they must soon have surrendered 
to the overwhelming numbers, but for our oppor- 
tune arrival. 

Col. Irvin had conducted his defenses so skill- 
fully, and was so well supplied with stores and 
forage from the town, that, had he been amply 
supplied with ammunition, he could have kept the 
enemy at bay for any length of time. He had 
quartered himself in two of the largest houses on 
the plaza, on opposite sides, and was so comforta- 
bly situated, that immediately upon our arrival we 
were invited to sit down to a well-prepared supper, 
which, of course, after our long and fatiguing march, 
we were in most excellent tempers to do justice 
to. Nor were the adjuncts of good wine and imros 
wanting to give a finish to this most welcome 

The citizens had hastily abandoned the town, 
upon the approach of the Mexican troops, and the 
Americans, not knov/ing how long the siege might 
endure, had profited by the occasion, and appropri- 
ated to their own use such articles of provision as 
they deemed necessary. So, while we were regal- 


ing on the choice eatables and drinkables of the 
Marinos, our tired and hungry horses were grind- 
ing, with greedy jaws, their maize and barley, while 
stabled comfortably in their parlors. 

The colonel facetiously remarked, — " his com- 
missary was a most generous fellow, and had sup- 
plied more and better rations than had ever before 
been his good fortune to enjoy in the service ; — for 
which favors, however, he felt duly thankful to the 
Mexican General, Urrea." 

On entering the town, we observed, some dis- 
tance beyond, large fires had been kindled, as we 
then supposed, either as a feint, to attract our 
attention that way, or as beacons to signalize our 
presence to other parties of the enemy in the 

The next day, however, we ascertained that these 
fires proceeded from the burning of a train of wag- 
ons, which they had captured that day while on its 
way to Monterey. 

We learned that the commissary at Camargo had 
dispatched a large provision-train for headquarters, 
and, contrary to instructions, had neglected to fur- 
nish a sufficient escort for the then unsafe condition 
of the roads. Sending several hundred w^agons, 
containing important stores, ammunition, and spe- 
cie, under the protection of but one officer (Lieut. 


Barbour) and twenty-Jive ?nen, and at such a critical 
time, was an act of unsoldier-like imprudence, 
which, during the w^ar, w^as equaled only by the 
surrender of Major Gaines and his squadron of Ken- 
tucky cavalry, near El Salado ; — who, neglecting, 
in the midst of the enemy, to post sentinels about 
camp at night, had been surrounded and captured 
without the firing of a single shot. 

A portion of Urrea's command, in conjunction 
with Canales and his guerrillas, had awaited in 
ambush the approach of this valuable train, and 
captured it, without any attempt, on the part of 
the insufficient escort, to defend it. The enemy, 
amounting to some 1,500, were secreted in the 
chaparral, and Lieutenant Barbour did not suspect 
their presence, till he found himself suddenly 
hemmed in on all sides, when, to resist, he well 
knew would insure the immediate massacre of his 
little party. 

In accordance with a standing order of the Mexi- 
can commander-in-chief, no quarter was granted to 
the teamsters, and an indiscriminate slaughter was 
made of them. Many of them were burned alive 
on their wagons, and their bodies were afterwards 
recovered, most savagely mutilated. Four or five 
only of these unfortunate men escaped to tell the 
fate of their comrades. These came in to us, the 


next day, on our return towards Monterey. One 
poor fellow, I remember, who had been wandering 
all night in the chaparral, and whom the horrors of 
the massacre had driven to distraction, had become 
so wild that we found it necessary to run him down, 
and take him by force to the wagons. 

The work of butchery completed, the Mexicans 
cut the harness from the mules, and, converting the 
wagon sheets into sacks, filled them with such por- 
tions of the loading as could be conveyed away on 
the backs of the animals, and hastily retired to their 
hiding-places among the ranchos. They left behind 
them the burning and blackened corpses of the poor 
teamsters scattered over the plain, amid the char- 
red and broken remnants of the wagons and their 

The lives of the escort had been granted them ; — 
but they were marched to the interior, where they 
were retained as prisoners till the end of the war. 

But to return. Our blankets were scarcely spread 
to catch a few moments of repose, when the notes 
of the reveille broke upon our ears, and admonished 
us of the return of day, and the resumption of our 
weary march over the route we had just passed. 
Exhausted as our men were by the fatigue of the 
past day and night, they were soon busily engaged 
in preparation of their hasty breakfast, which was 


quickly dispatched, and cheerfully awaited the order 
to proceed. 

In the mean time, the stores which the besieged 
had provided, together with a quantity of camp 
equipage, which might have retarded our return 
march, were deposited in a pyramid, in the centre 
of the plaza, and burned, rather than leave them to 
furnish "aid and comfort" to the enemy, who, we 
knew, w^ould reoccupy the place as soon as we 
should have withdrawn. 

Here I must not neglect to record an incident 
which occurred w^hile the stores were beini? de- 
stroyed. A German, belonging to Captain Kearn's 
company of Kentuckians, who had accompanied 
our party, jocosely declared, — "He did not intend 
to return to Monterey as he had come ; — he would 
have a horse to ride, and one, too, of his own." So 
saying, he w^as soon seen climbing, w^ith a rifle in 
his hand, to the flat roof of a house on the corner 
of the plaza. He had discovered a group of lancers 
on the outskirts of the town, who were watching 
our proceedings. Deliberately drawing a bead on 
the foremost and best mounted of the party, our 
German fired ; — and we knew by his exultant shout 
that he had emptied a saddle. Quickly descending 
from the house-top, and snatching a loaded musket 
from the hands of the first man he encountered, he 


bounded over the barricade, and for a moment was 
lost to sight, in the turning of the street. Soon, 
however, he emerged upon the open space beyond 
the town, — and here, those who had reached the 
house-tops, to watch his progress, saw the object 
of his race. He had shot a lancer, seated on his 
horse, — and, running up, caught the bridle of the 
animal, and dragged the rider from him, as he still, 
in his dying grasp, clung to the mane. But, as he 
was in the act of mounting his prize, the German 
was attacked by three of the lancer's comrades. 
Turning upon his assailants, he discharged his 
musket, and one of the number tumbled headlong 
from his saddle. Then clubbing his gun, the third 
Mexican was made to kiss the ground — with a frac- 
tured skull. On seeing the fate of his comrades, 
the remaining lancer, putting spurs to his charger, 
quickly lengthened the distance between himself 
and the maldito Americano. 

Our friend, being left sole master of the field, 
coolly proceeded to strip the blankets and arms 
from the dead Mexicans, and selecting two of the 
best horses, mounted one, and leading the other, 
galloped back to the barricade, with the little red 
flags of the lancers streaming over his shoulders. 
The barricades were removed for him, and, amid 
the cheers of his comrades, he reentered the plaza. 


He had now a horse of his own, — and most gallantly 
was it won. Calling to a messmate, and a coun- 
tryman, lie bade him accept the other horse, and a 
portion of the arms and blankets, and, with the 
permission of the colonel, they fell into the ranks 
of the mounted volunteers, — -now ready for the 
march. The above feat of gallantry was witnessed 
by hundreds of the enemy, as well as by our own 
party ; but I am not aware that the brave fellow 
was promoted, or even noticed in any official report 
of those days. 

The sun had risen high above the Sierra Mad re, 
when the final order for moving out of the place 
w^as given. The hospital wagon, containing several 
wounded men, and those who had been disabled 
from the last night's march, occupying the centre, — 
we moved out of the town. As was anticipated, 
the enemy no sooner perceived us retiring, than 
they moved into the plaza and took up our recent 
quarters. No doubt, the Mexican general, in his 
official report of the affair, described it as "a most 
brilliant victory over a vastly outnumbering force 
of northern barbarians ;" and much grandiloquent 
Castilian was expended upon it, in the name of 
" Dios y lihertad.^^ 

In consequence of the now wearied and worn-out 
condition of the command, our return was neces- 


sarily very slow. We frequently rested by the way, 
and, on arriving at Agua Fria, w^e determined to 
halt for the night. We had yet about six leagues 
before us for the morrow. The sun was some hours 
above the horizon, when we recrossed the river, and 
made our arrangement for encamping. 

First among my duties was, to select a suitable 
place for the shelter of our sick and wounded. 
Amongst the latter were the teamsters, who had 
escaped from the massacre of the train. I found the 
largest and most commodious house in the village, 
the one best suited for my purpose, shut, and doors 
and windows strongly fastened. Inquiring among 
the people, who had gathered around us, for the 
owner of the house, a man presented himself, and 
offered me other houses close at hand, stating that 
the owner of the house in question was absent, and 
he knew not where the keys could be found. 

" I can find a key to the doors," said I, and ordered 
some men at liand to batter them open, with the 
butts of their muskets. 

As they were about to obey my order, the Mexi- 
can ran up to me exclaiming : 

*'0A.' l)or el amos de Dios ! sefior, — yo tcngo las 
Raves ; — aqui so?i, — aqid so)i,^^ — (for the love of God, 
sir, I have the keys ; — here they are, — here they are), 
— and, drawing from under his shirt a bunch of keys, 


begged me to spare his doors, and they should be 

On entering the house, I was somewhat surprised, 
when, instead of finding it vacant, as I supposed, it 
was full of the young girls and women of the place, 
who, it seemed, had been hastily assembled in this, 
the strongest building, — for protection, — not so much 
from us, — whom they little feared, — as from the 
Mexican soldiers, a party of whom had withdrawn 
from the place just before we arrived, and were still 
near. Of this, however, w^e were then in ignorance. 
I entered, and quieted their alarm, by assuring them 
of our protection and respectful treatment; and 
forthwith had a guard placed around the house, with 
orders to permit none but Mexicans to enter. 

This act of courtesy, on our part, was, no doubt, 
the means of saving our party from the same fate 
that had befallen the unfortunate escort and drivers 
of the train. The sick and wounded were made as 
comfortable as circumstances w^ould permit, in the 
out-buildings, belonging to the house occupied by 
the females. Our scanty supper was disposed of, 
and the wearied soldiers had most of them sought 
repose upon the ground. 

In company with a friend, I had also spread my 
blankets on a cowhide upon the ground, near the 
door of one of our temporary hospitals. When about 


to throw ourselves upon them, I observed the pro- 
prietor of the house watching us with apparent 

He several times approached, and seemed desirous 
to speak ; but we w^ere in too much need of rest 
to pay much attention to him. In a few moments 
he went into the house, and entered into earnest 
conversation with the women. At length, as I lay 
in a state of h alf- forge tfuln ess, I was aroused by 
some one laying his hand on my shoulder. Suppos- 
ing some one had come to complain of a foray upon 
his hen-roost, by some of our hungry fellows, or 
for some other frivolous purpose, I rudely ordered 
him off, saying I was fatigued and wished to sleep ; 
and, drawing my cap again over my face, yielded to 
" nature's sweet restorer." But the Mexican would 
not be put off thus ; and I was forced to yield to 
his importunity. 

" Que queries?^'' (what do you want?) demanded I, 
in no very good humor at being thus disturbed. 

'^Seiior Medico f replied he in a low tone, ^'teiiga 
vmd. muchissima alerta^ por la nocheP^ 

"Why," asked I, "is it so necessary to be on 
our guard? Have we anything extraordinary to 
apprehend to-night?" 

"/St seTior P'' he replied — and then went on to say 
■ — " as we had been so kind as to respect their wives 


and daughters, and the men had not molested any- 
thing belonging to them, — he could not see us 
attacked by a superior force in the night, without 
giving us a fair warning. 

"To the right," continued he — "on yonder side 
of the river, is a bod}^ of 1,400 lanceros, and pursuing 
on your rear, from Marin, is another of 1,200, who 
intend to cut you off at this place. The plan is, 
for one division to get in advance of you, — between 
this place and the Monterey road, — so as to cut off 
your retreat, while the other attacks you while 

On further questioning the man, I was convinced 
of his sincerity. In short, he proposed to take me 
to a spot where the fires of tlie enemy might be 

Thanking the Mexican for this important informa- 
tion, and requesting him to mention it to no one 
else, I awoke my sleeping companion, and imparting 
to him what I had learned, we started together in 
search of Col. Irvin, — upon whom the command had 
devolved, on leaving Marin. After a long search 
over the village, and entering every house we came 
to, we at length found him asleep on a table, in a 
vacant house. 

He immediately gave orders to resume the march 
towards Monterey, so that, in the event of an attack, 


he might have the better choice of ground upon the 
highway ; and also with the view of preventing the 
enemy from getting in our advance. 

With much lowMiiuttered grumbling, our wearied 
men obeyed the order. The night was clear and 
frosty, — the moon had not yet risen, — but the stars 
afforded sufficient light to show us the road. As 
yet, no enemy had passed ; — and wdth slow and 
weary steps, we remeasured the dusty way w^e had 
passed the day before. Till near morning the men 
and animals dragged themselves along, — spiritless 
and exhausted. But as we reached the rancho of 
Santo Domingo, it was declared impossible for the 
infantry to proceed another step. It was, therefore, 
concluded to park the artillery and wagons, and 
endeavor to snatch a few hours' repose. In spite of 
the cold, — the men no sooner halted than they threw 
themselves exhausted upon the ground. The beams 
of the morning light brought the order to proceed. 
Reluctantly we threw off our frost-covered blankets, 
and prepared, as we supposed, for the last*few miles 
of our painful march. But hardly had we moved 
out of sight of our resting-place, — when the heavy, 
rattling discharge of musketry w^as heard on the 
road in our rear. This firing could only proceed 
from some party of our friends, engaged wdth the 
enemy. But who had been so near us without our 


knowledge ? It was known to Colonel Irvin that 
his commanding-officer, Colonel Morgan, with the 
remainder of his 2nd Ohioans, might be somewhere 
behind him, on his march from Cerralvo, which 
place being no longer tenable, it had been deter- 
mined to evacuate. But from the large force 
of the enemy on the road, it was considered 
doubtful if he could have advanced so far through 

The firing was continued at intervals, and ap- 
peared approaching. The order to face about was 
given, and this time obeyed with alacrity. With 
hearty cheers, the foot-sore and hobbling men has- 
tened on, forgetful of their recent grumblings and 
pains, in the excitement of the moment. Each fresh 
volley of the still approaching musketry seemed to 
instill new life and vigor into their before exhausted 
limbs. Still we pushed on, and still nearer came 
the sound of the conflict. 

The mounted men among us, being in advance, on 
ascending a rising point in the road, discovered the 
cause of the firing. A body of American infantry, 
covered on each flank and rear by a vastly superior 
force of Mexican cavalry, were moving in hollow 
square along the road. Steadily and coolly they 
advanced, under the fire of the enemy, — returning 
volley for volley, as the cavalry charged up, on either 


side, and, after dis«charging their carbines, fell back 
again into the cover of the chaparral. 

This was the command of Colonel Morgan, who 
had cut his way through the enemy, along the road, 
till he bad flillen in with the forces united at Agua 
Frio, and intended for the attack upon our little 
party. We had given them the slip ; but Morgan had 
marched late, and encamped on the further side of 
the river, — and, crossing before daylight, and before 
the enemy had cognizance of his movements, or he 
of theirs, had fallen into the trap the enemy had 
prepared for us. 

Dogging us thus along the road, they made three 
or four charges upon our square in less than half the 
number of miles. In the second charge after we had 
joined them, one of our cannoneers fell, transfixed 
by a lance, as he was in the act of applying the 
match to his piece. 

In this charge also fell Captain Graham, of the 
1st Kentuckians. This officer had been acting as 
commissary at Cerralvo; and, on the abandonment 
of that place, had accompanied Morgan, on his way 
to headquarters, to rejoin his regiment. 

The captain, armed with one of Colt's revolver 
rifles, had discharged five barrels, each time empty- 
ing a saddle. 

At this charge, he had one other shot remaining 


in his cylinder. Mounted on the top of a loaded 
wagon, that he might see over the heads of the men, 
composing the sides of the square, he brought his 
gun to his shoulder, and, as his finger pressed the 
trisfsjer for the last shot, and the foremost man of 
the charge tumbled from his horse, — a random shot 
from the enemy struck him, and he fell headlong 
from the wagon, with a bullet through his brains. 

I ran up to him as he fell ; but he had ceased to 
breathe. It was his last shot. 

The Mexicans invariably overshoot ; and the Cap- 
tain had been warned of the useless exposure of his 
person, — " But," said he, " I have had five good 
shots, and intend to have the sixth." 

In the last charge we lost another man, — a pri- 
vate of the Kentuckians. 

At last — the enemy finding it impossible to break 
our ranks, and our artillery mowing down their men 
at a fearful rate, — they concluded to fall back, and 
finally withdrew ; leaving us to pursue our march 
unmolested toward the citadel; — where, with our 
dead and wounded, we arrived about noon, in the 
utmost need of repose after this wearisome and 
eventful march. 


Morgan's Cominand marches to Saltillo. — Cit^ of Monterey entirely 
deserted. — No Breakfast. — Aunt Hannah. — Surgeon Snail. — A 
Search for a Breakfast. — Don Urbano Mendez. — Melancholy 
appearance of the City. — Our Friends not to be found. — Doiia 
Felicite. — Success.— Carrying Orders. — Morgan's Men returning. 
— Breakers ahead. — Lanceros. — A Challenge, a Volley, and a 
Race. — The Best Horse. — Carbine Shots. — Molino Blanco. — De- 
livering Orders.— Major "Wall. — The Road to Saltillo.— Scenery. — 
Report of cannon among the mountains. — Trying a hand at 
Artillery. — Its Results.— Caught a Tartar. — Variety of Climate. — 
Riding in adrance. — '' No hai, Senor." — How to get a Dinner. — 
The Mexican Shepherd Dog. — His Intelligence. — Anlncident.^La 
Rinconada.— Paso del Muerto.— Singular Custom.— A Strong For- 

The day following the incidents narrated in tlie 
last chapter, Colonel Morgan, now joined by the 
party of Colonel Irvin, continued his march to Sal- 
tillo, then the headquarters of the army ; — and, by 
the time the sun had peeped over the mountains, he 
was on the road. 

At this time, the city had been deserted, — the 
forces that had occupied the plaza having moved 
into the citadel. 

My own mess had been broken up ; and, in the 


confusion of things, I found it impossible to get 
breakfast at the fort, or anything else in the way of 
refreshment, except a cup of coffee, through the 
motherly kindness of "Aunt Hannah," an old color- 
ed woman, the cook of Surgeon Jarvis's mess. She 
had a large tent just outside the entrance to the 

The old woman regretted that she had nothing 
more to offer me, remarking that, "In des yer drefful 
Imrryin' times, a body couldn't cook a meal, nor 
nufrin comfortable like." 

While partaking of "Aunt Hannah's" hospitality, 
— still in my saddle, — my friend Surgeon Snail, of 
McKee's regiment, rode up and begged a cup of the 
same refreshing beverage. But the old woman, 
having already drained her coffee-pot for me, had 
none to give him. 

" De Lord bless you, young masser," said she, 
regarding the empty coffee-pot in her hand with a 
melancholy aspect, " I's mighty sorry ; but 'pears to 
me dat everybody in de fort, and out de fort, do 
think, dat dis yer tent is pitched right over a bilin' 
spring of ready-made coffee, — like dat spring of hot 
\YSiteY over yender by de mountain, — dat, — what 
you call um V 

^^Agiia caliente,''^ suggested I. 

*'Yes, sir, argcr calumcnte. Now you jes look 


dar," pointing to some empty camp-kettles outside 
her tent; " I's done made five of dem big kettles 
full already. De Lord above only knov/ whar it's 
all gone to. But laus ! what can a body do wlien 
de poor creturs come, and come, and beg ole 
Aunty for jis one cup : and dey been marchin' and 
fightin' all day yesterday. But now, you get down 
from yer boss, and take a seat on de camp-stool, and 
I'll make you some in jus no time." 

The Doctor was about to accept of "Aunt Han- 
nah's" invitation; but at this moment it occurred to 
me that a Mexican family, with whom I had been 
on most friendly terms, might have remained in 
town. I knew such had been their intention. I 
therefore proposed to my friend to ride over, and 
intrude upon their hospitality for a breakfast. 

Don Urbano Mendez w^as one of the most respect- 
able residents of the city ; and, being a near relative 
of General Ampudia, and also having the "safe- 
guard" of General Taylor, he felt himself safe in 
remaining in charge of his property, whatever party 
might possess the city. 

So, thanking "Aunt Hannah" for her kindness, 
we started off in quest of a breakfast. 

Not a sound was to be heard as we approached 
the plaza, save the sharp echoing rattle of our 
horses' iron feet over the pavement, as we rode 


leisurely through the streets; the shadows seemed 
to fall with a deeper gloom, and the air felt damp 
and chilly. A solitude reigned over the deserted 
city, as if some fearful epidemic had swept over it, 
and extinguished the last lingering spark of human 
vitality. Even the barking of dogs, — those pests 
of Mexican towns, — for once was hushed ; they 
seemed to have joined their masters in the general 
exodus. Save ourselves, scarcely a living, moving 
object met our eyes. Now and then, however, w^e 
perceived the shadow of some marauder, who, star- 
tled from his work of plunder, by the noise of our 
approach, stealthily glided around a^ corner, or slunk 
away into some dark alley. 

We rode up to the doors of houses, where we had 
been accustomed to meet wnth ready welcomes from 
their proprietors ; — they were now tenantless, and 
our knocks w^ere answered only by an echo from the 
opposite side of the street. We rode from street to 
street, — but the same sullen stillness prevailed. On 
arriving at the house on the plaza, which had been 
the residence of Don Urbano, w^e found it also 
vacant and closed. Concluding that not a family 
remained within the limits of the city, we re- 
crossed the plaza, and, turning down the street of 
San Ignacio, were on our return to the citadel ; 

when, having traversed half the length of the 



street, we were arrested by the sound of my name 
called from the window of a house v^e were passing. 
Checking our horses, we turned towards the direc- 
tion of the voice, and discovered it proceeded from 
Dona Felicite. This was the present residence of 
the family we were in quest of. She had been 
attracted to the window by the unusual sound made 
by our horses' feet, and, finding we were friends, 
hailed us ; and throwing open the large doors to 
the carriage way, we were invited to ride in ; and 
received a warm and friendly reception. They had 
left their residence on the plaza, she said, and moved 
into this house, as being in a more retired part of 
the town, in case it should be reoccupied by the 
Mexican army. As may be supposed, v/e did not 
leave the house of our friends breakfastless. 

I had been ordered to accompany Morgan's com- 
mand to Saltillo; and this hunt for a breakfast had 
consumed the time I should have used to overtake 
it. On returning to the fort, I was met by Colonel 
Ormsbey, the commanding-officer, who still longer 
detained me, as he wished me to take an order to 
Colonel Morgan. He said he had received informa- 
tion, which led him to believe that the road to 
Saltillo was covered by parties of the enemy, — like 
the road we had passed over the day before ; and he 
wished Morgan to leave a company of men and one 


piece of artillery at the Molino Blanco^ to protect a, 
mule-train which he inteaded to dispatch in the 
afternoon. So that by the time I had taken the road, 
I was some two hours behind the command. My 
friend, the doctor, accompanied me as far as Arista^s 
Garden, on the outskirts of the city, where he left 
me to pursue the road alone. 

I had proceeded no further than the point of the 
Saltillo road, opposite the Bishop's Palace, when I 
met a squad of soldiers returning to the city. 

They were accompanied by a sergeant, whom I 
recognized as belonging to the 2nd Ohioans. 

I inquired how it was they had left their regi- 
ment, and why they were returning? The ser- 
geant replied, that, being like myself detained in 
search for a breakfast, they had lingered behind 
their comrades, and, on pushing on to overtake 
them, had passed but a little way beyond the place 
where we met, when they were fired upon by a 
party of the enemy secreted in the chaparral. They, 
therefore, considering it imprudent to proceed, con- 
cluded to return to the town. 

The sergeant endeavored to dissuade me from the 
attempt to overtake the command, as he believed it 
impossible to get through the enemy. 

I replied, that as I had been made the bearer of 
an imDortant order to the culonel, I should at all 


events make the attempt ; — and requested the ser- 
geant to report the facts to Colonel Ormsbey, on 
reaching the citadel. 

"But, sir," said he, " if you are determined to 
proceed, keep a good look-out, as you turn the 
foot of that hill yonder, on your right. If I am not 
much mistaken, a party of lancers is secreted in the 
chaparral there." 

While conversing with the sergeant, I had dis- 
mounted, tightened my saddle-girth, and put fresh 
caps on my revolver and holster-pistols. Having 
completed this, I remounted, and, bidding good- 
morning to the men, proceeded on my way. 

I had just turned the point indicated by the ser- 
geant, w^hen my horse pricked up his ears, and, 
tossing his head from side to side, — as was his 
habit, when Mexicans were about, — satisfied me 
that I was in the immediate neighborhood of the 
lancers. A little further on, I caught sight of their 
little red flags, — which they carry on the end of 
their lances, — waving over the tops of the bushes. 
They appeared to be a party of about a dozen, and 
had discovered me on my first coming round the 
foot of the hill. Something less than a quarter of 
a mile lay between the lancers and myself; and as I 
had entire confidence in the speed and bottom of 
my noble little horse, I gave myself no particular 


uneasiness, and kept on my course as if I had not 
seen them. They were disposed, however, to give 
me fair notice, — and raised a shout, at the same time 
waving their little pennons, to show me their real 
character. My horse quickened his pace at the 
sound ; — and I observed a number of them moving 
down the hill, as if to intercept me. I now remem- 
bered there was a road near where I first discovered 
the lancers, — coming in from the Pisqueria Grande 
road, and uniting with the Saltillo road about half 
a mile ahead. No doubt they intended to come 
down that road, and cut me off before I could reach 
the junction. Xow there was not a moment to be 
lost, and the object was, to frustrate their in- 
tentions, by passing that point ahead of them : — and 
if the road was clear, I had no doubt I could do it. 
So, drawing my handkerchief from my pocket, I waved 
it towards them, as a challenge to the trial of speed. 

This was replied to by a loud yell ; and a volley 
of carbine shots rattled in the bushes about me. 
Then putting spurs to their horses, at the top of 
their speed, the lancers came thundering dov/n the 
road upon me. 

My intelligent little animal seemed to know^ what 
was going on ; and now, catching his bridle-bits 
between his teeth, he flew over the ground like a bird. 
Never before having had occasion to test his best 


Speed, I was surprised at the way he skimmed over 
the road. His feet hardly touched the ground as he 
sped along. It was but an instant, and the junction 
of the roads was left far behind. Here I checked 
my horse, and, looking round, saw that my pursuers 
had onl}^ just reached the main road, and were now 
nearly as far off as when the race began. 

Finding I had the advantage of them in legs, 
at least, they amused themselves by sending shots 
after me; these, however, mostly fell short, but 
one occasionally stirring up the dust in the road 
near me. 

The lancers continued to follow me thus, till I 
came up in sight of the command, at the MoUno. 
Here a halt had been ordered, to rest the men, and 
give them an opportunity to replenish their can- 
teens with the cool, sweet water of the spring, for 
which the place is noted. 

On riding up, and handing the order to the 
Colonel, he observed that my horse showed evidence 
of hard ridins:. He also said that he had heard the 
report of musketry in the rear, and inquired of me 
the cause. I informed him that the road appeared 
to be occupied by the enemy, and that a small 
party of lancers had followed me all the way from 
near the Bishop's Palace. 

On receiving this report, the Colonel, calling to 


Mnjor Wall, directed that officer to escort the mule- 
train, from this point, as far as Rinconada^ and 
instead of the one company ordered by Colonel 
Ormsbey, he would leave him two companies of 
men, and one of the eight-pounder howitzers, as he 
had no doubt he would have occasion for them 
before he got through. 

The road to Saltillo, after arriving at El Molino 
Blanco^ passes through a narrow valley, bounded 
on either hand by lofty and precipitous mountains, 
as far as El paso del muerto, or Dead Man's Pass. 
This is the only passage through the Sierra Madre, 
for several hundred miles of its course. This moun- 
tain range, on the left, rises abruptly from the 
plain, a sheer perpendicular vv^all of granite ; its 
crest being crowned with lofty pines, and standing 
in bold relief against the deep blue of the sky. 

On the right, the mountains are of a more irregular 
and broken character ; in some places ascending 
gradually from the valley, and covered witli forests 
to the tops ; in others, scarred and seamed by deep 
ravines and unapproachable chasms, and towering 
in irregular and naked peaks to the clouds. In 
many places, torrents leaped, foaming and roaring, 
from out the face of the cliffs, and united with the 
San Juan, as it flowed through the narrow plain, 
crossing and recrossing our road many times in a 


few leagues; and then away through the "Valley 
of Monterey," and on through the States of Nuevo 
Leon and Tamaulipas, to mingle with the waters 
of the Kio Grande, below the town of Camargo. 

We had passed the MoUno about half a league, 
when the report of a cannon came booming up 
the valley, awakening the slumbering genii of the 
mountains, who roared back the sound again, like 
the prolonged reverberations of thunder : for — 

'- Every mountain now bad found a tongue,'' 

and the echoes reflected the sound from crag to 
peak, till, with low mutterings, it died away up 
the long reach of the valley. Scarcely had the last 
growl of the echoes ceased, when another, and 
louder report succeeded, and reawakened the 
thunders of the mountains. Our friend, the Major, 
it seemed, was trying his hand. 

The cannonading not being continued, the Colonel 
did not deem it necessary to return, or send a party 
back to the Molino, I suggested the probabiUty of the 
Major's having discovered the party of lancers with 
whom I had had the trial of speed, and had given them 
a dose or two of grapes, for his own amusement. 
The Colonel being of the same opinion, the march 
was continued. We were correct, as, on my return 
to Monterey, subsequent to the battle of Buena 


Vista, I called upon Major Wall, who still remained 
in garrison at the hac'mida of Rmcoiiada, and spent 
several days yqvj agreeably with him, and his 
officers, climbing the mountains, and reconnoitering 
the country about the Pass. On* inquiring of the 
Major the cause of the firing, after we had left him 
at the Molino, he informed me that the lancers, who 
had given me chase, had continued to hover about 
the place, intent on watching his movements ; that 
he gave them but little attention till they were joined 
by a party of some fifteen more, when he thought it a 
good opportunity to try his hand, for the first time, 
as cannonier, and sent them his compliments in the 
shape of a canister of grape-shot. This was more 
than the lancers had counted on, as they did not 
dream that his little force was accompanied by 

"Now, come with me," said the Major, "and I 
will show you the results of those two shots." And 
leading the way to the corral, pointed out to me 
about a dozen fine cavalry horses, that had been 
taken on that occasion. 

It appeared that the lancers, on receiving the 
first charge of grapes, had foolishly dismounted, and, 
leaving their horses at the foot of the mountain, 
had clambered amongst the rocks for shelter, and, 
under cover of the second discharge, the I^Iajor's 



boys had rushed, in and captured their animals, 
leaving the poor lancers to return on foot to their 
command, to report the fact of their having " caught 
a Tartar." 

Our road passed up an inclined plane all the way 
to Saltillo, — through all the gradations of climate, 
from the region of the palm, the banana, the orange, 
and the sugar-cane, in the valley of Monterey, — up 
to the temperate elevation of Saltillo ; where ice 
from the mountains is hawked through the streets 
at all seasons of the year. 

After a short distance only from the valley, tlie 
traveler leaves behind him the gardens of the 
tropics, the orange groves, and the columns of 
smoke, ascending from the sugar-houses, and finds 
himself riding through fields of upland rice and 
oats, with here and there a patch of cotton or 
maize ; the last being the product alike of the 
extremes of temperature, from the northern tem- 
perate to the equatorial line. Then passing up- 
wards, he arrives amid luxuriant fields of barley, 
rye, and wheat ; and still ascending, he meets with 
the peach, first, and then comes the' apple, the pear, 
the cherry, and the other hardy fruits and plants of 
the temperate regions. So that, in a ride of about 
seventy miles, the traveler experiences almost all 
the variations of climate, and meets the productions 


of three zones. He mounts his horse in the morn- 
ing, suffering from lassitude and the debility induced 
by the extreme heat of the plain ; and before night 
is glad to wrap himself in all tha extra clothing he 
may have been so fortunate as to have brought 
along with him. 

The cool, tonic atmosphere of the higher region 
has given an invigorating tone to his system; and, 
notwithstanding he has ridden a long day's journey, 
he is better prepared at night to repeat it, than he 
was in the morning to commence it. 

It was my custom, while on a march, to ride alone, 
some distance in advance of the column, — unless 
circumstances made it necessary, as was sometimes 
the case, to remain with it. In this w^ay I had 
opportunities to look about me, and observe such 
objects along the road as were worthy of remark, — 
free from the dust and confusion which accompanied 
the column. Besides this, on approaching a rancho 
or village, my chances were much better for obtain- 
ing refreshments, than on the arrival of the main 
body, v/hen there was always a rush for v/hat little 
the people might have to sell to us. At the best it 
was very difficult to obtain anything to eat on first 
applying. Much diplomacy was frequently resorted 
to, in the shape of cigarritos and bad Spanish, 
before the Mexican would admit that an ounce of 


provisions was to be had in the place; for the in- 
variable answer was "?io hai, scFio?-''^ (not any, sir), 
wnth the extended fore-finger of the right hand 
playing a peculiar pantomime, to the right and left, 
about four inches in front of the speaker's eyes. 

To the question, " Have you any eggs?" the eter- 
nal "?io haP^ is the response. 

" Any cJiile con carneV 

''No hair 

'' Any frijolcs?''' 

''No hair 

" Any bread — -j^a/i de maiz?^^ 

"No hair 

*'Any tortillas?'-'' 

"No hair 

*'In the name of heaven, have you anything?" 

"No, sefior, no hai — nada, 7iadita r with a strong 
emphasis upon the last syllable of the last word — 
" nothing — not anijthingr 

Begin to talk Spanish, tell him you are huc?io 
catolico, call for a light, and offer him a cigar, — the 
ice is broken and he begins to warm towards you. 
Still murder Spanish for him, and when his cigar is 
consumed, offer him another ; if this is not sufficient 
to win your man, praise his country, the fine cli- 
mate — and this you can do without doing violence 
to your conscience — and then ask him if he has 


any cJwcoIate, and ten to one the answer now will 
be :— 

'^ Si, hair 

And while this delicious beverage is being pre- 
pared, gently intimate that a few tortillas would be 
an acceptable accompaniment to the chocolate. 

" Si, 5e?7or/" 

Soon you hear the sound of the metate ; and the 
clapping of hands promises a heap of those primitive 
cakes, warm from the earthen pan. Now ask him 
if he has any huevos (eggs). 

''Si, hair 

And so on, he will admit one article at a time ; so 
that, if you are far enough in advance of the crowd, 
you may manage to make out a very good dinner. 

On this march, while riding about a mile in 
advance of the main body, I had an opportunity of 
witnessing an instance of the wonderful sagacity of 
the shepherd dog of Mexico, than which, a finer 
race is not found in any country. 

This animal is of a large, shaggy breed, much 
resembling, in general appearance, the dog of New- 
foundland; and much larger than any variety of the 
European shepherd dog that I have ever seen. He 
is a good-natured and peaceable animal, very rarely 
barks, and never bites, unless much provoked. 
These dogs often have the entire charge of large 


flocks of goats and sheep, and are frequently met 
with, leagues away from their owners' residences, 
keeping faithful guard over their charge. 

A party of volunteer soldiers, on a long march, 
w^ere not particularly nice in their distinctions be- 
tween meiim and tuum, as regarded the kids and 
lambs of the Mexican flocks; and often, in spite of 
orders to the contrary, a very savory and tempting 
odor of roast kid arose from the mess-fires of the 
men, w^ien encamped for the night. 

Now, these shaggy guardians of the flocks had 
come to know, by what means I cannot say, this 
peculiar fondness of the soldier for the young and 
tender ones of their charge, and began to regard 
him as a biped wolf, whose evil designs it required 
all their instinct to guard against. 

As I said before, I was riding in advance, and 
about a quarter of a mile in my rear, following me, 
I observed the adjutant of the regiment, also riding 
alone. We had just passed a rancho, some distance 
from the road, and, on ascending an eminence, I 
discovered a large flock of goats feeding quietly 
along the highway. Near by, apparently asleep, on 
a flat rock, lay a remarkably large and fine-looking 
dog ; while at some distance off*, further along the 
road, and beyond the flock, I noticed another. I 
checked my horse to admire the beautiful dog near 


me, and it was not till. I had called to him several 
times, that he condescended to pay the least atten- 
tion to me. At length he moved slowly towards 
me, took a leisurely survey of my horse and myself, 
and, seemingly satisfied that I was all right, returned 
to his rock, and his siesta. By this time the adju- 
tant had arrived, and I directed his attention to the 
dog ; but the addition of another party began to 
excite the interest of the animal. Running to the 
top of a group of rocks, which overlooked the road 
in the rear, he discovered the dust raised by the 
advancing column ; and giving a short, loud bark, 
as a signal to his companion, he sprang from the 
rock, and ran forw^ard to meet him. In the mean 
time the other dog had answered the signal, by a 
similar bark, and came on to meet the first. The 
two met about half way, and, laying their heads 
together for a few moments, seemed to be engaged 
in earnest conversation ; then, on parting, they 
wagged their bushy tails, as if a mutual agreement 
had been arranged between them, and starting to 
the rear of their flock, and gathering in the strag- 
gling ones, started them, upon the gallop, up the 
side of the mountain ; so that, by the time the 
column came up, the dogs and their flock of goats 
were half a mile off, and out of harm's way. 

Experience, or instinct, had taught these faithful 


creatures that there was danger to their charge, on 
the passage of a body of soldiers ; while a single 
person, on riding up to the flock, did not excite any 
suspicion of evil. 

The sun had sunk below the mountain, whose 
deep shadows fell over the road, as we passed up a 
long, dark avenue of elms and mountain willows, 
and entered the hacienda oi Rinconada. This place, 
as its name implies, lies in a corner or angle formed 
by the mountain range ; which here takes a sudden 
turn to the north. 

A short distance beyond this point commences 
the famous gateway through the Sierra Madre, 
known as the Faso del Muerlo, or " Dead Man's 
Pass." Directly in the path leading up this gorge, 
one meets the monument commemorating its name. 
It is a huge cairn or pyramid of cobble-stones, 
w4iich has been accumulating, from year to year, 
over the remains of some murdered traveler. Each 
passer-by, innocent of the blood of him who lies 
beneath, casts a stone upon the heap, as an evidence 
against the murderer. We each added our testi- 
mony against the foul deed, by depositing the cus- 
tomary tribute of a stone. 

This Pass is, probably, one of the strongest 
natural positions in the world, for a military stand. 
The mountains present, on either hand, a wall of 


naked cliffs, towering perpendicularly to the skies ; 
while a deep and narrow canon is the only passage 
to the steep wagon-track, ascending to the table- 
land beyond. A handful of determined men might 
defend the place, in spite of any force that could 
be brought against it. A single battery upon tha 
point of the cliff, on either side, could be trained so 
as completely to enfilade the passage. 

The Mexicans had fortified this point, on the 
commencement of the war, but when Ampudia 
had surrendered the city of Monterey, and retired 
through tWs Pass, he caused the fort to be dis- 
mantled; and no attempt was afterwards made to 
reestablish it. 


Saltillo. — Population and Character of the People. — Influence of the 
Priests. — Priestly Harems. — Immoralities of the Monks. — Their 
Control of Public Taste. — Fountains — Lavadores and Vendedores 
— The Alameda. — Deserted by the sullen Citizens. — Resorted to by 
the Americans. — Houses of Saltillo. — The Serape and Jorongo. 

Saltillo, in the State of Coahuila, is situated at 
the foot of the mountains, on ground somewhat 
broken into hills and gullies, the bottoms of the 
latter being the receptacles of the filth and scavanage 
of the city. It contains a population of some 
15,000, mixed Indian and Spanish, the Indian blood 
greatly predominating. The people have always 
been represented, by travelers, to be of a vicious 
and vindictive character, suspicious and unfriendly 
in their intercourse with strangers, and partaking 
of all the worst traits of the two races they repre- 
sent.* They are the opposite, in every respect, of 

* While we were in possession of the city, the assassination of our 
men was of daily occurrence. It was absolutely dangerous for an 
individual, or even small parties of three or four persons, to visit 
the outskirts of the town, as they were liable at any time to be 
knifed or lassoed by the cowardly and treacherous " greasers.'' The 


the people of Monterey, — the difference being as 
marked as that of the climate of the two places ; 
and during our occupation of their city, they held 
themselves entirely aloof from any association with 
the ^^Maldito Americanos^ Any approaches of our 
officers or men to an acquaintance with them, were 
most uncivilly repelled. Whilst at Monterey, on 
the contrary, we were not only on friendly terms 
with the inhabitants, but, in many instances, the 
w^armest friendships were established between them 
and our people. 

The unfriendly disposition of the Saltillanos may, 
in a great measure, be attributed to the great in- 
fluence exercised over them by their unprincipled 
priests. Much less intelligent and refined than the 
people of Monterey, w^e would naturally find the 
priests exerting more control in the formation of 

men were often induced by false representations to enter houses, 
from which they never issued alive. 

After the battle of Buena Yista, assassinations by means of the lasso 
became of so frequent occurrence, that General Wool, who, on the re- 
turn of General Taylor to Monterey, succeeded to the command, issued 
an order permitting the soldiers to shoot down any Mexican, who 
might be found within the limits of the city, with a lasso or lariat 
attached to his saddle-bow. This order, however, was soon rescinded, 
as a spirit of retaliation being provolied, our men often revenged 
themselves by shooting down all such as they had reason to suspect, 
and legalized tlie killing, by leaving a lasso on the dead man's per- 
son. It is but justice, however, to our men, to say that they rarely 
revenged tlieraselves upon one innocent of American blood. 


public character and morals. The latter cit}^ with 
a larger population, does not contain one-fourth the 
number of churches and priestly harems — for the 
convents and nunneries are nothing more, — that are 
to be found in Saltillo ; and the same rule holds 
good in the cities of Mexico, as in all other Catholic 
countries, that the tone of character and public 
morals improves in inverse ratio to the number of 
priests and ecclesiasticfal institutions attached to 

The monks are in hourly and intimate association 
with the people, both in public and private, and 
not only take a share in, but direct the everyday 
actions and opinions of society. They not only 
conduct the many religious ceremonies of papist 
idolatry in the public streets, but the rules of clois- 
ter life are so htx as to allow them to mix freely 
with the populace, in all their games and amuse- 
ments, whether public or private ; and from the 
respect with which the masses are accustomed to 
regard them, and their superior intelligence, they 
easily control the public taste and morals. 

If the upper classes of society have escaped from 
the trammels of monkish influence, the middle and 
lower classes regard them with as much supersti- 
tious reverence as they did a century ago. The 
fantastic eloquence of the middle ages still keeps its 

THE MOXK. 197 

ground here. The Mexican preacher, carried away 
by his enthusiasm, seizes upon the most startling 
metaphors. Sometimes he represents God as mak- 
ing the sun Ids charger, and the moon Ids stirnqj 
( cahalgando el sol, y cstribando la luna ), Sometimes 
it is an obscene story, to which, with the most im- 
perturbable gravity, he attaches a religious moral. 
When out of pulpit or confessional, the same man 
who inculcated the severest asceticism, utters the 
raciest jokes, and sings the best songs in some tertuUa 
on the ground-floor. 

He even pushes his anxiety so flir as to furnish 
the laity with hints about dress. He gives excel- 
lent directions about the cut of a new suit of clothes ; 
nay, more, he charges himself, sometimes, with their 
purchase, frequenting assiduously the saloons of 
flishion ; and there is no appeal from his criticism. 
Very often his complaisance is not of the most dis- 
interested kind ; — too often, his purchase is a kind 
of tribute paid to a family, whom the reverend 
father supports at his own expense, on condition 
of tasting clandestinely in its pleasures. 

The monk is everywhere, except at his convent. 
Everything is an attraction to him ; bull-fights, cock- 
fights, gambling-tables, and theatres ; every place 
gives him an opportunity of displaying his whims 
and oddities. Let no one fancy that his compliant 


manners operate against him, as a priest and spirit- 
ual director. 

Tlie Mexicans understand to a nicety the bond 
which unites devotion to worldly pleasures. 

When the monk, late at night, wends his way to 
his convent, after a day spent in dissipation, the 
passers by, when they see him, bow the knee with 
as much respect as if his pious discourses and con- 
duct were not in startling contrast with each other.* 

The city has a number of plazas, in which are 
fountains, throwing up large columns of the coolest 
and purest water, conducted from the mountains. 
The margins of these fountains are resorted to by 
the lavadores, or public washerwomen, who throng 
the place at all hours of the day, busily plying their 
labors, accompanied by the ceaseless clatter of their 
tongues. Here, also, assemble the venders of fruits, 
ices, chile con cariie, ixin de maiz, imlque, mescal, and 
other small articles of trade, who, with their custom- 
ers, and the lavadores, monopolize the fountains, and 
add to the picturesqueness of the scene. 

The city also boasts its uilameda, or public prom- 
enade. This is a large square, laid out into sym- 
metrical alleys and cross-paths; the alleys converging 
into a large common centre, in which are fountains 

* Gabriel Ferry. 


SiXidjets d'eau, inclosed by a circle of myrtles, roses, 
jessamines, and a great variety of odoriferous and 
flowering shrubs. The spray from the fountains, 
falling upon these in dewy moisture, makes the air 
delicious with its coolness, and the perfume of the 
opening blossoms. 

The alleys, bordered by lines of weeping w^illows, 
which, arching and meeting overhead, shut out the 
heat and light of day, and creating a dreamy twi- 
light beneath, make this spot a chosen retreat from 
the Babel sounds of the plazas, where the confused 
voices of the vendedores and lavadores are continually 
ringing out upon the ear. 

During the time of our occupation of the city, 
these w^alks were deserted by the sullen natives, 
who remained, and entirely relinquished to the 
"Northern Barbarians," who had sole possession of 
them ; and, notwithstanding the enlivening presence 
of the fair donas and sefioritas of Saltillo was denied, 
to add a charm to the dim and silent avenues, yet 
w^e spent many hours of pleasant idleness among 
them. This was an agreeable spot to meet and talk 
over the gossip of the army ; to recall the virtues 
and recount the merits of our noble comrades, who 
had fallen in the unequal struggle on yonder bloody 
battle-field ; to make an interchange of our dreams, 
and fond remembrances of our far-off homes ; and to 


speculate upon the chances., and mischances of re- 
turning to the arms of those loved ones, who were 
waiting and praying for us there. 

The houses of Saltillo are built in the same style 
as other Mexican towns, of flat-roofed, one-storied 
dwellings, mostly of stone, as this material is abund- 
ant. There are, however, many adobe houses, occu- 
pied mostly by the poorer classes. Many of the 
residences exhibit the evidences of taste and wealth, 
but in no degree in proportion to similar residences 
in Monterey. The only article of manufacture, for 
which this place is noted, is the scrajm; large num- 
bers of which are transported to every part of the 
Republic. This article is furnished here of every 
degree of fineness and quality, from the coarse 
blanket of the jjeon and mozo cle midas, costing a few 
reals, to the finest jorongo of the cavalier, worth 
often several hundred iicsos. 


The Contrast between the two Armies.— Taylor changes the Plan of 
Battle.— Surprise of the Mexican Commander. — His certainty of 
Victory. — Arrangements for cutting up the retreating Americans. 
— A Thermopyla3.— Washington's Birth-day. — The Long Roll.— 
Taylor goes to Saltillo. — The Advance of the Enemy checked. — 
Troops in Line of Battle. — Taylor returns to the Field. — Riflemen 
engaged on the side of the Mountain. — Fighting ceases for the 
Night. — Our Loss the First Day.— Loss of the Enemy. — Minon's 
Brigade. — The Mounted Raucheros. — Colonels Blanco and Agui- 
erra. — Taylor again returns to Saltillo. — Santa Anna's Address. — 
Martial Music. — Reflections. — Striking the Camp. — The Sufferings 
of the two Armies during the Night. 

Saltillo will ever be memorable in history, as 
the scene of one of the most extraordinary battles 
ever recorded in the annals of warfare. No battle 
of modern times w^as ever comparable with the bat- 
tle of Buena Vista : — and ancient history can show 
but very few instances at all comparable with it. 
It was a struggle between a handful of raw, undis- 
ciplined militia, in a foreign land, thousands of miles 
from their homes, on the one hand, — and, on the' 
other, a host of the selected veterans of a regular 

and thoroughly-disciplined army, — one of the proud- 


est in the world, — which had been trained to the 
profession of war, and tevsted its strength in many a 
battle-field, — troops fighting upon their own soil, 
in defense of their own country and homes, and 
prompted, by every principle of patriotism, to exert 
every nerve, to drive the foreign invaders from their 
land. It was a battle in w^iich the opposing parties 
were less than 5,000 undaunted Anglo-Saxons on 
one side, opposed to a force of more than 25,000* 
of a mixed race of Spanish and Indian blood on the 

There was not, on our side, a single regular in- 
fantry soldier in the fight ; — and, according to the 
report of Major Mansfield, of the engineer corps, not 
a single mistake was made during the whole day. 

It had been the intention of General Taylor to 
await the approach of the Mexican army at Agua 
Nueva; but the ground being of such auature that 
the enemy might easily outflank our little force, it 
was concluded to fall back upon the Pass of Buena 

Santa Anna had calculated on meetino: us at the 
former place, and offering us battle there. His 

* Counting the strength of the main body, under Santa Anna, at 
his own estimate, and the forces under Minon, Blanco, and Aguierra, 
there must have been opposed to us, on the 23d, a force of more than 

BUENA \'ISTA. 203 

astonishment was, therefore, great, wlien, on emerg- 
ing from the mountain-gorge, far enough to command 
a view of that place, he found it entirely abandoned. 

" At first, he imagined our forces had retired un- 
der the cover of intrenchments, which he had heard 
we had thrown up ; and he immediately directed his 
troops so as to turn our right, in order to gain La 
Encantada and the road between us and Saltillo, in 
accordance with a part of one of his three previous 
plans of operation. But upon approaching the ruins 
of the hacienda, a Mexican servant, whom he found 
there, informed him that our army had been evacu- 
ating its position, ever since the preceding day, and 
had flillen back upon the city. By this movement, 
all his purposes, based upon the expectation of re- 
sistance at Agua Nueva, were rendered abortive. 
But this masterly strategy of our commander, in his 
change of position, was then, as had been calculated, 
construed by Santa Anna into a precipitate retreat. 

" Therefore, without stopping to refresh his al- 
ready exhausted troops, he pushed on with his 
whole cavalry force, and his light division, to cut us 
to pieces. This he believed he could the more 
readily accomplish, as he had previously ordered 
General Minon, with his 2,000 choice troops, to get 
in rear of us, if possible, at Buena Vista ; if not, by 
the Pass of Palomas Adentro, and a narrow and 


winding pathway over the mountains, to the valley 
east of Saltillo.* Supposing that order already 
executed, he indulged the hope that he could yet 
entrap, between two formidable portions of his 
army, what he imagined to be our panic-stricken 
and fugitive columns.- Elated by such a brilliant 
prospect, he urged more rapidly forward his weary 
and nearly famished troops, leaving directions for 
his artillery and heavy infantry to follow as fast as 

" Thus, by General Taylor's falling back to Buena 
Vista, he caused Santa Anna to become inspired with 
the hope just mentioned. Under its influence, he 
compelled his whole army, already suflering from 
thirst, and worn down by the fatigue of a continu- 
ous march of thirty-five miles, over a desert, to hurry 
on fourteen more, without rest, and with only the 
refreshment of a meagre repast, and a single draught 
of water. 

" No calculations could have had results more 
fortunate than those of General Taylor. Santa 

* " General Minou says, in bis report, that Santa Anna did not direct 
or suggest the latter movement until the evening of the 22nd ; that 
before that time he (General Minon) had taken the responsibility of 
moving thither, and had gained a position east of the town, as soon 
as he could do so after he had learned that General Taylor had fallen 
back on Cuena Yista. Santa Anna himself is the opposing au- 


Anna had cberished the vain belief, that his antag- 
onist remained totally ignorant of his movements ; 
and, by his extreme solicitude, to keep up that 
ignorance, until the moment of attack, he permitted 
himself to be completely out-generaled, even on 
this very point. For his own place and position 
were perfectly known, while he himself remained, 
as he unwillingly admits, entirely in the dark, as to 
General Taylor, whose retrograde, and apparently 
confused and hurried march, decoyed him into what 
he has since termed a Thermopylae. It is very 
doubtful if, with all his superiority of numbers, he 
could have been induced to venture to this spot, 
had not his elation, at the prospect of our speedy 
destruction, borne him so far forward, before he was 
undeceived, as to our flight, that he could not recede, 
nor avoid a battle without disgrace. 

" He was, therefore, singularly unfortunate, in 
thus having the scene of his anticipated engage- 
ment so suddenly, unexpectedly, and, as it were, 
mysteriously changed from a known to an unknown 

" Nor was he less so as to the time he had selected 
for it. If in the whole year there be one day, above 
all others, when the heart of an American is natu- 
rally animated by the purest sentiments of patriot- 
ism, — when all that is great and best in his country's 


history is brought most vividly to his mind, as an 
example which should strengthen his purpose and 
nerve his arm to emulate the glorious deeds of the 
past, — that is the day which gave birth to The Father 
of Ids Country, 

*' But it w^as on the morning of Washington's 
birth-day that Santa Anna indulged in the delusive 
hope, that an army of Americans, unmindful of its 
sublime associations, and recreant to their country 
and their name, had basely fled before him. 

"It was eight o'clock when the 'long roll' called 
our men to arms. No one, who then witnessed the 
cheerful alacrity with which they seized their w^eap- 
ons, and sprang to their places in the lines, — who 
saw the firm resolve impressed on every countenance 
in that determined little band, — can ever forget the 

" Every banner was unfurled to the bright sun 
and enlivening breeze; and, as the various bands of 
music struck up the national air of ^ Hail Colum- 
bia,^ the sacred battle-cry — ' The Memory of Wash- 
ington P — passed from regiment to regiment, and 
from corps to corps, amid the most enthusiastic 

" Could the friends at home, of those here mar- 
shaled for the conflict, have seen the spirit which 
animated them ; could they have beheld them cut 


off from the hope of returning with honor to all they 
loved, except through their own brave exertions ; 
surrounded,* as they were, by foes bent on their 
destruction, proverbially merciless, smarting under 
the disgrace of recent defeats, and now about to 
fight under the immediate eye of their most distin- 
guished general ; — could their dearest friends have 
seen them thus, — not one but would have glowed 
with pride at their gallant bearing, and w^ould him- 
self have girded on their arms, and, invoking for 
them the aid of the god of battles, w^ould, in the 
spirit of the heroic past, have bid them go forth to 
victory, or, if it must be, to the sacrifice. "t 

On the evening of the 21st February, General 
Taylor had gone to Saltillo to give some orders in 
reference to the defense of that place, where were 
collected together all our stores jmd munitions that 
were not immediately needed in the field. 

General Wool being second in command, had, 
therefore, the command of the troops during the 
temporary absence of General Taylor; and, as the 

* The 2,000 cavalry, under General Minon, had already come 
through the Pass of Palomas Adentro, in the rear of us ; and Gen- 
eral Urrea and General Romero, with another brigade of cavalry, 
had previously been sent through the mountains by the way of Tula, 
and were at this time on the road east of Monterey. — See Santa 
Anna's Report. 

t Capt. Carleton's Bucna Vista. 


vast clouds of dust, along the road from Agua Nueva, 
indicated the approach of Santa Anna, at the head 
of a large force of cavalry, Wool gave the order for 
the troops to move forward to the battle-ground. 

In the mean time, the enemy continued to pour 
along the road, confident of an easy victory, — when 
they were brought to a check by the sight of Wash- 
ington's battery of eight pieces, which was descend- 
ing a slope of the road leading to La Angostura, 
w^here he had been ordered to take position. The 
1st regiment of Illinois volunteers had also gained 
a high ridge to the left of the pass. 

Soon as the enemy observed this force, and before 
he had come within range of Washington's battery, 
the bugles sounded a halt. The advanced squad- 
rons of the Mexican cavalry, on halting, had wheeled 
about, and fell back under the protection of the 
elevated ridge, while those in the rear, still pressing 
forward, came up rapidly, and formed upon the 
advance. Soon their compact and serried masses 
had accumulated to the number of several thou- 
sands, and with the bright gleaming of their polished 
lances, and their flags and scarlet pennons waving in 
the breeze, they presented a beautiful sight, as their 
ranks extended from the arroijo, half-way to the 
mountains on the left. 

General Wool had disposed the troops in line of 


battle, and directed each division to its particular 
position, to await further orders, when the fight 
should open. In this position our little army 
awaited the attack. 

Tiie enemy were in sight through the pass, as 
they filled the valley beyond. Santa Anna was 
evidently waiting for the rear column to move up, 
on to the main body. General Taylor, in the mean 
time, had returned from inspecting the works at 
Saltillo, and, as he rode along the line, was greeted 
with the most cheering demonstrations of the per- 
fect confidence with which his presence inspired 
the troops. As cheer after cheer, and the prolonged 
and repeated huzzas of the brave volunteers rung 
out upon the mountains, and echo sent the sound 
rolling up the narrow pass, to the ears of the listen- 
ing Mexicans, they began to imagine that they had 
to measure arms with other than panic-stricken and 
retreating foes. 

General Wool also rode along the lines, and made 
a few pertinent remarks to the army. He reminded 
them of the day, — and that their country was ex- 
pecting much of them. That theirs v^^as a signal 
good fortune to be able to meet the enemy on this 
glorious natal day of the great man, whose memory 
was hallow^ed by" every true American, and every 
lover of pure and exalted virtue, — that their country 


had confided a sacred trust to their valor, and he 
had all confidence that the glory and honor of the 
American arms would receive a new lustre on this 
day. This address was responded to with three 
times three as hearty cheers as ever awakened the 
slumbering echoes of the old mountains, which on 
the morrow were to be aroused by the more awful 
echoes of the booming cannon and the bursting 

In the mean time the Mexican army had taken up 
their line of battle, in front, and, upon the crest of 
the mountain on our left, and at three o'clock in the 
afternoon, the ball was opened by the enemy firing 
a shell from his howitzer into the left of our lines. 

Immediately afterwards our riflemen were en- 
gaged with Ampudia's light division, on the side of 
the mountain. Our men from behind the crest of 
the ridge, where they were covered, did terrible exe- 
cution among the enemy, with their unerring weap- 

From this time till dark the light troops on either 
side were engaged in a distant discharge of small 
arms, with an occasional and scattered cannonading 
from the crest of the mountain in front, directed by 
the enemy upon our troops on the plateau. This 
constituted the action of the first day (22d) — the 
two armies not being regularly engaged on this day. 


No more firing took place that niglit, — save a signal 
shell thrown into the air, to call off the light troops 
of the enemy, and an occasional exchange of shots 
between the piquets, and advanced patrols of the 
opposing armies. 

Our loss on this day was very trifling—we hav- 
ing only four men wounded, and not a man killed, 
— v/hile the Mexican loss was over three hundred in 
killed and wounded. 

*' Early in the day. General Miiion, with his bri- 
gade, had entered the valley east of Saltillo, as Santa 
Anna had anticipated; but the latter, finding 
General Taylor had made a stand, and v^^as deter- 
mined to offer him battle, sent directions to the 
former to remain in that quarter, and to fall upon 
us during our retreat before his overwhelming 

" In order the more certainly to insure that none 
of our army should escape, a thousand mounted 
rancheros, armed with lances and machetes^ who had 
been collected at Monclova, Buenaventura, and Par- 
ras, and were commanded by Colonel Miguel Blanco, 
and Colonel Aguierra, were also sent from Patos, by 
a mule-path, leading through the mountains, into 
the same valley. While, therefore. General Miiion 
was to hover about the east side of the road leading 
from Saltillo to Monterey, along which, it w^as sup- 


posed, we would soon be flying in great confusion, 
Colonels Blanco and Aguierra were to occupy the 
small town of Capellania, on the west, likewise to 
await our retreat, and to assist in cutting us up 
without quarter."* 

General Taylor, satisfied that the enemy did not 
intend to make the grand, and, as the Mexican Gener- 
al supposed, decisive attack, till the morrow, — and 
fearing that the forces in the rear of the town 
might make an effort to take our stores there — 
again returned to Saltillo with Colonel Charles 
Mq^'s squadron of the 2nd dragoons, and the Mis- 
sissippi Rifles, as an escort. 

On arriving there, the General made such arrange- 
ments as he supposed the emergency of tlie case 

On the night of the 22nd, Santa Anna made a 
final address to his army. He referred to the wrongs 
which he said had been inflicted upon their country 
by the barbarians of the north ; w^rongs which could 
not be submitted to without eternal disgrace, and 
which could be redressed only by the last resort 
of nations. The United States of the North had, 
coward-like, presumed on their strength alone, and 
wantonly set at defiance every principle of right. 

I * Captain Caiieton's History of Buena Vista. 


They had provoked this war, under the cover of 
other objects to be gained, but really for their own 
aggrandizement, and the acquisition of territory 
clearly the property of the United States of the 
South. The one country aimed only at the entire 
destruction of the nationality of the other. He 
wished to call their whole attention to that single 
fact ; and not only to that, but to a thousand others, 
wdiich, like that, would make them burn to take 
terrible vengeance on the mercenary invaders of 
their soil. He called upon them to look upon their 
country. What met their sight? Its possessions 
wrested away ; its dignity insulted ; its fair fields 
ravaged ; its citizens slaughtered ; its hearths and 
homes made desolate. Others had gone forth to 
vindicate these wrongs, but they had fallen ; and 
now their blood, which had drenched the fields of 
Palo Alto, Kesaca de la Palma, and Monterey, called 
on them, their brethren, with an eloquence that 
must reach their hearts, to avenge their death. He 
reminded them that they had crossed deserts, and 
suffered hunger, and thirst, and fatigue, without a 
murmur. Long and weary had been their march ; 
but now they should be rewarded with repose, and 
the enjoyment of the abundance which filled the 
ample granaries of the murderers of their brethren. 
He concluded by saying that we were but a handful, 


and at his mercy ; that he had magnanimously 
offered to spare our lives, and even to treat us with 
consideration; but that we had vaingloriously re- 
jected his clemency, leaving, as the only alternative, 
our utter extermination, without pity or quarter.* 

"This address was received by loud cries of 
' Viva Santanna,'' ' Viva la Rej)ublica,^ ' Libertad 6 
Muerte^^ distinctly heard in our lines. After the 
shouting had ceased, Santa Anna's own magnificent 
band commenced playing ; and as the gentle breeze 
swept down the pass towards us, each delicious 
strain seemed to float upon it, mellowed by distance, 
yet distinct and inexpressibly sweet. For over half 
an hour it continued to delight our 'barbarian ears' 
with the exquisitely beautiful airs of the sunny 
south. When it had finished, and the last faint echo 
had sunk to rest, silence the most profound fell 
over the two armies like a pall. The huge moun- 
tains on either side reared their crasrs^y heads his^h 
into the darkness above, and the pass itself seemed 
to lie between them in deep gloom and utter soli- 
tude. No one could realize that there were so 
many thousands of human beings gathered together 
in that narrow gorge. And it was a dreadful reflec- 
tion that so many of them — now so full of life, and 

* The substance of this address was repeated to us by Mexican 
officers who heard it,— Capt. Carletox. 


ambition, and high aspirations; now visiting, in 
thought, their far-off homes, and the dear ones 
there ; now the objects of pride and yearning solici- 
tude ; now the centre of deep affections, of sacred 
love, and of long-cherished hopes — would be strick- 
en down in the full flush and vigor of manhood, and, 
ere another nisfht should cast its dark mantle over 
the earth, would be numbered forever among the 
things that were."* 

During the night the camp was struck and stowed 
away in the wagons, which were carefully packed 
in the ravines and quarry-holes, in the rear of our 
lines. This precaution was necessary, not only to 
clear the field for the evolutions of the troops and 
artillery, but from prudence, in case we should be 
forced to fall back upon the town, that they might 
not fall into the hands of the enemy. 

During the early part of the night, the weather 
continued pleasant, as it had been through the pre- 
vious day ; but, towards morning of the 23rd, the 
sky became overcast by heavy banks of clouds, 
while a cold rain began to fall, which proved exces- 
sively annoying to our men, who were forced to 
sleep upon their arms, with no other shelter than 
their threadbare blankets atforded them, and with- 

* Capt. Carleton. 


out fires, as material for the latter could not be found 
on the field.. Those of the troops, however, who 
were posted on the side of the mountain, and who, 
being more exposed to the force of the storm, suf- 
fered more than their comrades on the plateau, had 
gathered together the dry clusters of the noixd, and 
other light plants growing in the crevices of the rocks, 
and kindled little fires. The enemy had also made 
fires along their line, up the side of the mountain — 
till, at length, two lines of lights were glimmer- 
ing from the base half way up the side of the rocky 
ascent. The troops of both armies suffered greatly 
during this gloomy night — the Mexicans no less than 
our own men. " In our position," says the Mexican 
engineer, in his report of the night's operations, '^ we 
passed the night, which was absolutely infernal, 
owing to the cold, rain, and wind, which last almost 
amounted to a hurricane, while we had neither food 
nor fuel." 


Commencement of the Battle of the 23d. — Position of the Light 
Troops of the Enemy. — O'Brien's Battery. — Battle opens on the 
Left.— Plan of the Battle.— The 2nd Illinois Troops.— M'CuUoch'a 
Rangers.— The 3rd Indianians.— Kentucky and Arkansas Cavalry. 
— Our Riflemen engaged with Ampudia's Command.— The Mexi- 
can Line of Battle. — General Ortega. — The Mexican Eight-pounder 
Battery. — The Bearing of the Volunteers. — The Morning. — Beau- 
tiful Appearance of the Mexican Array. — The Unfaltering Coolness 
of the Americans. — General Lane. — The 2nd Indiana Regiment. — 
An Unequal Struggle.—" Cease firing and Retreat!" — Noble Con- 
duct of O'Brien and his Men. — The Enemy advance up the Ra- 
vine. — Gallantry of the 2nd lUinoisians. — Colonel Bissell. — Con- 
trast with the Arkansas Troops, who run on the First Fire. — The 
Retreating Indianians. — The Mississippians.— General Mora y Vil- 
lamil.— McKee's Kentuckians. — The Enemy continues to xVdvance. 
—Cols. Marshall and Yell.— Capt. Connor's Texians.— The "Old 
Man" returns from Saltillo, with the Mississippians. — Critical state 
of Affairs. — The Lion-hearted Riflemen. — Too much for the Ene- 
my, who falls back. — Progress of the Battle in the Centre. — Santa 
Anna's Horse shot. — The Left Flank. — Struggle Doubtful. — Col. 
Charles May. — Mexican Cavalry Charge upon the Rancho of Buena 
Vista. — The 2nd Indianians do good Service. — General Torrijon. 
— Deaths of Colonel Yell and Captain Porter. — Second Charge of 
Mexican Cavalry. — They present a Beautiful Appearance. — Mutual 
Admiration.— Singular Conduct of the Lancers.— Their Rout.— 
The Fighting continues. — A Storm.— Driving the Enemy.— Turn- 
ing the Tables. — Slaughter of the Mexicans. — The Mexican General 
sends a Flag. — Cannonading ceases on our part. — Enemy continues 


to Fire on us.— Santa Anna's Object obtained. — The Progress of 
the Battle on the Plateau and in the Ravines. — Desperate Situa- 
tion of the Kentucliy and Illinois Troops. — Deaths of McKee, Clay, 
Hardin, and others. — O'Brien always a Hero. — Bragg's Battery. — 
Taylor in the Hottest of the Fight. — General Wool. — Enemy fall 
back. — "A little more Grape, Captain Bragg!" — Battalion of San 
Patricio. — Riley. — General Miiion attempts the City. — How re- 
pulsed. — Night approaches. — Firing ceases. — The Night. — Return 
of Day. — Victory! Victory !— Official Report of Killed and 

" Down the hills of Angostura still the storm of battle roUs ; 
Blood is flowing, men are dying ; God have mercy on their souls I 
Who is losing ? who is winning ? — over bill, and over plain, 
I see but smoke of cannon, clouding through the mountain rain." 

The Battle of Buena Vista, or of La Angostura,* 
as it was called in the official report of the Mexican 
commander, commenced at the break of day, on the 

The action of the day previous amounted to but 
little more than skirmishing, to obtain positions, 
and was but preliminary to the grand affair about 
to come off. 

In the night, the light troops of the enemy had 
attained a position to the left of our line, on the 
side of the mountain, and in the rear of the riflemen, 
who had encamped on the heights. Here the action 
commenced by a continued exchange of rifle and 
musket shots, until about sunrise, when a body of 

* Literally — the Narrows. 


Ampudia's command advanced down the mountain, 
under shelter of a deep ravine, and received a mur- 
derous fire from the howitzer under the command of 
Lieutenant O'Brien, who threw into them a shower 
of spherical case-shot, which, bursting in their 
midst, threw them into confusion. The firing on 
the mountain now ceased for a short time, while 
the enemy then busied themselves in getting to a 
higher position, and out of the range of those un- 
welcome missiles. 

The battle being thus opened on the left, the 
centre of the line, along the plateau, were making 
their final dispositions to receive the assault threat- 
ened to the front. 

On the extreme right of our line was placed 
Bragg's Battery, supported by the 2nd Kentuckians, 
under the command of the gallant Col. William R. 
McKee. It was in this regiment, also, that the 
lamented young Henry Clay served as lieutenant- 
colonel. Captain Washington's battery occupied, 
as it had the day before, the narrow Pass of La An- 
gostura, while the 1st Illinois regiment, commanded 
by Colonel Hardin, supported it in the gullies, and 
on the ridge on the left. 

No one can form a correct idea of the nature of 
the ground where this battle was fought, and the 
disadvantages under which the troops of both armies 

220 CHILE cox CARNE. 

made their evolutions, without reference to the 
accompanying plan of the battle. The mountains 
encompassed the small plateau, on which the main 
body of our forces were drawn up, and this was 
intersected by deep gorges, and ravines extending 
into the mountain on our left, and rendering, the 
passage of artillery altogether impracticable. 

A portion of the 2nd regiment of Illinoisians 
occupied a position on the plain, opposite one of 
these gorges, with a twelve-pound howitzer on their 
left, and in their rear our six-pounder guns. These 
pieces were a portion of Captain Sherman's battery, 
and were under the commands of Lieutenants French 
and Thomas. 

Next after these, to the right, and a little in the 
rear, came first two companies of dragoons, then 
M'Culloch's Texas Rangers. 

The 2nd Regiment of Indiana, under Colonel 
Bowles, were posted at the extreme left of the 
plain, having O'Brien's battery under their protec- 
tion. The Third Regiment of Indiana (Colonel 
Lane's) were stationed in the rear of Washington's 
battery, on a spot of rising ground, which overlooked 
the road for a considerable distance beyond the 
" narrows," where had assembled, the day before, 
the advance body of the enemy's cavalry. 

A portion of the Arkansas and Kentucky cavalry 


had been dismounted ; while those not detached to 
fight on foot remained in one of the ravines on the 
left, and at the foot of the mountain. 

All the time that these troops were being posted 
in tlieir respective positions, the riflemen on the 
side of the mountains were hotly engaged with the 
light troops of Ampudia, w^ho were shot down in 
great numbers by the unerring rifles of our western 
backwoodsmen, who, deploying among the rocks 
and ravines, deliberately selected the Mexican ofli- 
cers as their targets. 

On the part of the enemy, the first column of 
attack moved down the road, w4th the intention of 
carrying the Pass of La Angostura. This body w^as 
under the command of General Mora y ViUamil, and 
consisted of the choicest troops of the Mexican 
army. This was the '• Guarda Costa de Tatnpico,^^ than 
which, a finer regiment was not seen on the field 
that day ; the 1.2th Regiment, the Regiment of 
Engineers, the ^'Fijo de Mejico,^^ and the ^^Battalion 
de Puehlay 

The second column was made up of General 
Pacheco's division, joined by that of General Lom- 
bardini, — one being ordered to move directly across 
the ridge, on the left of their heavy battery; while 
the other should move up the principal gorge, and, 
cominf^f tosrether near the foot of the mountain, 


were to unite, and force our left flank on the plain. 
The light troops of General Ampudia, who had 
occupied the mountain, and had engaged our rifles, 
were to constitute the third column of attack ; and, 
turning our extreme left, were to form a conjunction 
with the second division, and attack our little force 
in the rear. 

A strong body of cavalry was attached to each of 
the two first columns ; and a twelve-pounder bat- 
tery and howitzer were placed on the ridge looking 
northward along the road, and in range of the 

General Ortega had command of a large body of 
troops, as a corjis de reserve, formed on the ground 
where the Mexican Commander-in-Chief had assem- 
bled his two front lines the evening before. 

During all the time occupied by the two armies, 
for the above-described disposition of their forces, 
the eight-pounder battery of the enemy, stationed 
on the ridge opposite our left flank, and in rear of 
Ampudia's command, was pouring a destructive fire 
into our left wing. The right wing and centre, 
occupying the plateau, meantime standing quietly 
in position ; and, with the coolness and determina- 
tion of well-seasoned veterans, were engaged in 
watching the evolutions of the enemy, with whom 
they were soon to be in deadly combat. The 


features of every man along the line glowed with 
animation, at the prospect of the hand-to-hand 
struggle, which was that day to decide the fate of 
the entire American army along the whole line of 
operations, from the mouth of the Eio Grande to 
the spot on which they now stood with firm, un- 
daunted tread. Not an eye quailed, nor a muscle 
trembled, save with eagerness to measure prowess 
with the countless hosts deploying before them. 
Along that little front of heroes, was not a man 
who would, at that moment, have changed positions 
with the lordliest millionaire of the land at home. 
Whatever may have been said of a portion of the 
2nd Indiana Volunteers, by those who are dis- 
posed to judge unkindly of them, whatever invidi- 
ous letter-writers may have written of the Arkansas 
Cavalry, there was not, at that moment, a coward's 
heart pulsating along that front of determined 

The morning was calm and sunny, like a June 
morning of our northern homes. Not a cloud rested 
upon the mountains, or a mist upon the plains ; — 
the atmosphere was of that pure transparent ether, 
which is peculiar to the mountainous regions of the 
south, and seems to possess an exhilarating quality, 
imparting strength and buoyancy to the spirits, as 
well as force and energy to the animal powers. 


As the Mexican forces moved to their positions, 
in the most perfect order, to the sound of the fife 
and drum, and with the coolness and precision of 
a hohday parade, an involuntary and simultaneous 
expression of admiration was heard through ourranks. 

They, indeed, presented a magnificent spectacle, 
as the morning rays, now pouring down the moun- 
tain declivities, glinted on their polished lance- 
points and sabres, and reflected the sunlight, from 
rank to rank, as they advanced steadily over the 
uneven ground. 

The cavalry troops were most superbly uniformed, 
and mounted on the choicest horses of the country. 
Each regiment was distinguished by the peculiar 
color of its horses ; and as the scarlet pennons of the 
lancers floated on the morning breeze, — with the 
flags designating the different corps, — the picture 
was one that will be remembered to the latest hour 
by all wdio then beheld it. 

The scene, with the huge, craggy mountains on 
either hand, frowning gloomily upon the narrow 
valley, where stood our little band of iron-nerved 
and brave-hearted men, awaiting, calmly and si- 
lently, the onset of this comparatively almost 
countless host; wiiile up the mountain-side the 
crash — crash — of the rifles, and the rattle of mus- 
ketry, intermingled with the thunder-tones of the 


Mexican batteiy, reverberating from the deep defiles 
and the rocky steeps, — the sliouting of the com- 
batants, and the smoke of battle, is as vividly im- 
pressed upon the memories of those who took part 
in the incidents of that exciting day, as if they had 
occurred but yesterday. 

At this time the infantry of General Pacheco had 
united with the division under the command of 
General Lombardini ; and passing up one of the 
deep ravines had gained a position up the side of 
the mountain, and near the eight-pounder battery. 
The cavalry attached to this column had, in the 
mean time, remained behind, under cover. 

General Lane, who w^as in command at the left, — 
General Wool having just gone dow^n to La Angos- 
tura to make provisions for an attack, which had 
been threatened that point, by the column under 
Mora y Villamil, — now sent forward Lieutenant 
O'Brien, with his three pieces of artillery, sup- 
ported by the 2nd Indiana Regiment. This com- 
mand turned the head of the ravine, and halted over 
two hundred yards in advance of all the other 
forces. The battery here being placed in position, 
the Indianians, moving in columns of companies, 
deployed into line on the left of it, — their front 
facing obliquely to the road on the west. 

These troops had hardly formed their line, when 


the enemy opened upon them a galling fire of mus- 
ketry, — the distance between the opposing forces 
being less than two hundred yards, and the Mexicans 
outnumbering the Indianians by more than ten to one. 

But the guns of the gallant O'Brien swept them 
down by hundreds. In the mean time, the com- 
mand of General Lane was exposed to the range of 
the Mexican eight-pounders on the left, — every shot 
thinning out his ranks. 

This unequal struggle was continued for very 
near half an hour. The front lines of Pacheco's 
division were frequently broken and thrown into 
confusion ; but by his superior numbers, the Mexican 
general was able to move forward fresh platoons, as 
fast as they were shot down by the grape and canis- 
ter from O'Brien's battery. 

Being anxious to get out of the range of the eight- 
pound battery, which was doing his troops much 
damage. General Lane wished to advance further 
down the ridge, with a view of gaining a safer posi- 
tion, and at the same time of driving the Mexicans 
lower down into the ravine. O'Brien was ordered 
to advance some sixty or seventy yards, to the front 
and right. This order he promptly obeyed, and, 
placing his pieces in battery, again renewed the 
work of death.* 

* Captain Caiietou. 


The General was now on the lefc of the 2ncl 
Indiana Regiment, which were to advance to the 
support of the artillery. At this important moment, 
— without authority from the general, who had not 
yet the most distant thought of retiring, — Colonel 
Bowles, who commanded the regiment, gave tlmt 
unfortunate order, which covered himself and his 
heretofore gallant regiment with disgrace, and the 
chagrin and mortification of which, a few months 
afterwards, hastened the premature death of that 
unhappy officer. The order was — " Cease firing and 
retreat r One by one the companies broke from 
the line and, in the utmost confusion, retreated; 
leaving the brave O'Brien alone with his guns, and, 
single-handed, to keep at bay the hosts of Mexican 
infantry. He and his men stood their ground for 
several minutes, and fought like wounded tigers, — 
throwing two canisters at a time into a gun, and 
defiantly hurling the leaden showers into the ranks 
of the enemy, — sending scores and hundreds to their 
long homes. But the overwhelming masses of the 
Mexicans swept like a torrent through the ravine, — 
the rear ranks forcing onward those in front, as the 
waves of the ocean, lashed by the tornado, drive the 
advancing waves upon the shore. The men and 
horses attached to the guns were being cut to 
pieces; and O'Brien was forced to limber up and 


fall back with two of them, leaving the four-pounder 
in the possession of the enemy, as every man and 
horse belonging to that gun had been shot down. 

The enemy, now no longer held at bay by 
O'Brien's battery, poured out upon the plateau, 
and pursued the retreating Indianians as they rushed 
precipitately towards the rear. 

The 2nd Illinoisians and 1st Dras:oons, with two 
pieces of artillery, were alone opposed to this over- 
w^helming mass. These brave troops did much 
execution amongst the advancing ranks; but as they 
were but a handful against a host of the best forces 
of the enemy, the latter still advanced till they had 
gained a point to the left of the 2nd Illinoisians, 
between them and our friends, on the side of the 
mountain, and in their rear. In tiie mean time, the 
Dragoons, being of no service opposed to this vast 
multitude of mixed infantry and cavalry, had been 
withdrawn to the rear of a ravine, as was also 
M'Culloch's Texas Rangers ; and the battalion of 
the 2nd Illinoisians, with Sherman's battery, were 
exposed to a fire from the left, front, and rear, at 
the same instant. 

Most nobly did these troops behave under this 
trying circumstance. Finding themselves sur- 
rounded, or nearly so, " Col. Bissell having directed 
the signal, ' cease firing,' to be made, gave the com- 


mand — ^ Face to the rear ! Battalion, about FACE! 
— Battalion , forward march!'' which was executed; 
until the danger of being outflanked was past."* 
All this w^as done with the coolness and regularity 
of a holiday parade, and greatly in contrast to the 
conduct of the Arkansas Volunteers, who had been 
dismounted and stationed in this part of the field 
when the action first commenced. These fellows 
(four companies) took to their heels on the first fire 
from the enemy, nor stopped to look behind them un- 
til they had cleared the field, w4iere they, with a few 
exceptions, were not seen again during the entire day. 
The retreating Indianians were leaving the field, 
supposing that the day was lost, when they were 
arrested by a number of regular officers, w^ho en- 
deavored to rally them. Some two or three hun- 
dred were induced to return, and afterwards did 
good and important service. Col. Bowles, their 
commanding-officer, picked up the rifle of a dead 
Mississippian, and joined that heroic corps as a 
private. It was an honor to have served in that regi- 
ment, that the command of almost any other regiment 
did not confer. History will ever award to that 
small force of Southern riflemen the reputation 
they so heroically won on that day. 

* Capt. Carleton. 


While the 2nd Illmoisians were thus contending, 
General Mora y Villamil, in command of the first 
column, had moved up in range of our battery at La 
Angostura, and Captain Washington had received him 
with a terrible shower of grape, canister, and round- 
shot, which broke the Mexican ranks, and drove them 
in confusion to seek the shelter of the great ravine, 
and the mountain spurs on their right. This force 
consisted of over 4,000 of the very select troops of 
the Mexican army, and were driven back by ar- 
tillery alone. 

M'Kee's Kegiment of 2nd Kentuckians had been 
ordered to move up from their position on the 
other side of the stream, to the support of Captaui 
Sherman's battery, which had taken position near the 
head of the first gorge. Captain Bragg also joined 
Sherman's battery, by bringing his pieces on to the 
right of the latter. 

We had now a line of artillery extending from 
the road, partly across the plateau, supported by 
the Illinoisians of Bissell's command, M^Kee's Regi- 
ment, the 1st Dragoons, and a battalion of Har- 
din's Illinoisians. 

In the mean time, the enemy had passed over 
the wdiole plateau, and were now between us and 
the base of the mountains. They received the whole 
fire of our artillery and the infantry, and bravely 


stood their ground, notwithstanding we were mak- 
ing dreadful havoc in their ranks. 

All this while, the Mexican cavalry poured rapidly 
along at the base of the mountain, and in the rear 
of their infantry, in hot pursuit of the panic- 
stricken Indianians. Ampudia's light troops, who 
had been contending with our riflemen on the slope, 
falling in with the lancers, joined in the pursuit ; 
thus cutting off the latter from communication 
with our main body. 

The Kentucky cavalry, under Col. Marshall, and 
the remaining portion of the Arkansas cavalry, 
under Col. Yell, held this advancing body of the 
Mexicans at bay for a moment, while the riflemen 
endeavored to unite with their friends. But the 
Mexicans were too numerous for them long to with- 
stand, and cavalry, riflemen, and all were forced to 
retire. The riflemen sufl*ered greatly, as did, also, the 
Texians of Capt. Conner, who were nearly destroyed. 

The enemy had now forced our left flank, and 
was rapidly moving round to our rear. They had 
every advantage, and w^e were virtually whipped by 
the force of overw^ielming numbers. This w^as the 
situation of the game, when the word flew through 
the ranks of our exhausted, but not disheartened, 
volunteers, that the " Old Man'''' was returning 
from Saltillo. 


There was a magic in the name of our old Gen- 
eral ; and when he appeared in sight, accompanied 
by the MississiiJinans and a few dragoons, the cry 
rang forth, from one party of volunteers to an- 
other, — ^^ Here comes the Old Man! hurrah fo?' Rovgh 
a?id Ready r^ And, inspired with new energy and 
hope, they were ready to be led again into the hot- 
test of the fight. 

The General, perceiving, at one glance of his ea- 
gle eye, the state of affairs, directed Col. Davis with 
his regiment to proceed obliquely across the field, 
from the hacienda of Buena Vista, towards the 
point where the enemy w^ere working round the 
base of the mountain. Ampudia's infantry, with 
a large force of cavalry, were here engaged by the 
handful of lion-hearted Mississippians, who fought 
like devils, — but, at the same time, wdth perfect 
coolness and calculation. They waited till the 
Mexicans " showed the w^iites of their eyes," — 
when they poured into them such vollies of death- 
dealing rifle-balls, as mowed them down like dry 
prairie-grass before the flames. Still on they 
pressed, rank upon rank; and still this little band 
of heroes stood manfully to their work, — till, at 
length, the hosts began to waver and reel before 
the deadly fire of the rifles — and at length broke, 
and in dismay fled back to the ravines. 


All this time the Mexican lancers were moving 
at the base of the hills, and on our left, till they 
had succeeded in getting further in our rear, and 
were bearinof down towards the rancho. 

General Taylor, on observing this, sent forward 
Col. May, with a force made up of dragoons and 
volunteer cavalry, to check them. This force suc- 
ceeded in arresting the enemy, and forcing them 
back to the mountains 

While all this was going on, at the left, and in the 
rear, the great centre of the battle was progressing 
on the plateau, under the immediate supervision of 
the two opposing commanders. Our artillery was 
rapidly thinning the Mexican ranks, and at length 
the centre was driven back under cover of the ravine 
in front. At this point, Santa Anna's horse was shot 
from under him. 

The left flank was now becoming the theatre of 
the hottest part of the battle, the centre moving 
along under cover of the ravines to the support of 
their right wing at that point ; — the artillery in the 
centre of our line, in the mean time, being engaged, 
not only with the front of the enemy, but also upon 
their masses threatening our left and rear. 

" For a long while the conflict was continued 
without any decided success on the part of either 
army ; and the whole field, during this period, 


might be compared to an intricate game of cliess, 
the pass at La Angostura, defended by Washington, 
being the key to our position. If this was carried, 
we were irretrievably checkmated, and the game 
was lost."* 

Artillery being brought to bear upon the masses 
on our left, and moving upon our rear, they at 
length began to give ground, and General Taylor 
ordered Col. Charles May to pass up the ravine in 
the rear of the plateau, and intercept a portion of 
the enemy, who were endeavoring to regain the 
main body. May had scarcely started in obedience 
to this order, when a brigade of the Mexican lancers, 
which had crossed the broken ground between it 
and the Kentucky and Arkansas cavalry, and had 
forced the latter to fall back, made a charge upon 
our baggage-tr'&,in in the road, a short distance north 
of the rancho. May was, accordingly, recalled to 
repel this attack with his dragoons, and such of 
Pike's squadron as remained on the field, — with 
Lieut. Reynolds with two pieces of artillery. But 
before this force reached the spot, the enemy's cav- 
alry, in columns of squadrons, charged upon the 
Arkansas and Kentucky mounted volunteers, in 
front of the rancho. The struggle was a hand-to- 

* Carleton. 


hand affair ; — the two parties being so completely 
mixed up, and confused in the cloud of dust blown 
towards the rancho, that it was impossible to dis- 
tinguish friend from foe. 

It was now that some two or three hundred of 
the 2nd Indianians, who had been rallied, and 
had taken a stand in the yard and buildings of the 
rancho, proved of important service. They poured 
a most destructive fire into the Mexicans, which 
broke their ranks. One half, mixed up with the 
Americans, rushed headlong through the buildings ; 
while the other retreated to the mountains on our 
left, follov/ed by Lieutenant Eeynolds, who gave 
them a few parting shots, till out of range. 

This was General Torrejon's command, made up 
of the flower of the Mexican army, and was one 
thousand strong ; while the volunteers opposed to 
them was about four hundred and fifty. 

Here fell the gallant Yell, and by his side Captain 
Porter, — both in advance of their men, — and Adju- 
tant Vaughn, of Kentucky. The latter brave officer 
received twenty-four wounds. AVith these officers 
fell many of the best men of the two regiments. 

Torrejon left thirty-five of his men dead, and was 
himself wounded. He was a brave officer and made 
a most gallant charge. 

The Mexicans, being determined, if possible, to 


reach the road leadhig to the city, again made the 
attempt with a fresh brigade of cavahy. This force 
charged down the plateau from the foot of the moun- 
tains, directing their course to the point occupied 
by the remnant of the 2nd Indianians, the 3d Indi- 
anians, and the Mississippians. 

The last-named troops reached across the plain in 
line of battle, with the Indianians on their right, 
their front towards the mountains, and their line 
along the ravine ; thus forming a figure resembling 
the Greek delta^ with the opening presented to the 

In most gallant order the Mexicans came dow^n at 
a round gallop. They were formed in column of 
squadrons, fifteen hundred strong, of the bravest and 
best disciplined of the entire Mexican army. It 
was a beautiful sight, as they poured over the field ; 
the sun shining on their polished armor, and glisten- 
ing from lance-points and sabre-blades; their pen- 
nons and insignia weaving upon the breeze, and the 
bugle-notes floating in mellow tones upon the air. 

As they approached nearer to the little line of 
Spartans, who had thrown themselves across their 
path, to barricade their passage, they slackened 
their gait to a hand-gallop, hoping to draw their 
fire. But in this they were mistaken. Our men 
were not inclined to waste a shot, but meant that 


each one should empty a saddle. Still nearer came 
the enemy, and now they had drawn rein to a walk, 
— the two opposing forces gazing upon each other 
with admiration, — the Americans, upon the gorge- 
ous array and beautiful order of their foes ; and the 
Mexicans, on the little line of undaunted heroes, 
who walled up the way before them, like an im- 
movable wall of granite. 

Involuntary exclamations of admiration ran 
along our ranks, on the nearer approach of the 

"Don't they look too pretty to shoot," said a 
Mississippian to his rankman. 

"Yes," was the reply, " 'tis a pity to spoil such 
beautiful uniforms." 

"Look at that gallant officer leading them on," 
said another; "he's too noble looking a fellow for 
me to kill." 

Instead of now charging in double quick time, 
upon our handful of men, the Mexicans actually 
came to a dead halt, in the very cross-fire range 
of their two lines. Now it was that each man, 
deliberately selecting his mark, awaited the order 
to fire ; and, when that order was given, a simul- 
taneous sheet of fire blazed from the two lines, — 
hurling death and carnage into the reeling ranks of 
the enemy, whose entire front column was laid pros- 

238 CHILE cox CAHXE. 

trate. Riderless horses rushed right and left, and 
sped away over the plain in every direction. 

This reception threw the Mexicans into confusion ; 
and Shernaan, moving up at this time, and throwing 
into them grape and canister, completed the rout. 

It remains to this day inexplicable, why the Mexi- 
cans committed the before unheard of error of halt- 
ing in their advance upon our little line. Had they 
come down at a rapid charge, our friends could not 
have withstood the weight of their heavy force. 
Our lines would have been broken ; the Mexicans 
would have gained the road, and have got posses- 
sion of the city, with all our stores; and the result 
would have been disastrous in the extreme. 

While this charge was being made, and repulsed, 
as above described, the fighting was continued in 
other parts of the field. The enemy still occupied 
the ground they had held for several hours, on our 
left flank ; — and the General directed Colonel May, 
with the regiments of Cols. Davis and Lane, Pike's 
and Preston's Arkansas Cavalry companies, the 1st 
and 2nd Dragoons, and Sherman's battery, now to 
attack the enemy at that point. They were soon 
driven further back towards the base of the hills, and 
in the direction of their main body. 

It was now about three o'clock, and a tremendous 
storm, which had been gathering for some time, 

A STORM. 239 

burst over the field. Powerful gusts of wind came 
sweeping down through the mountain gorges, bear- 
ing along with them a tempest of hail and rain ; — 
while the bursting peals of thunder, and the vivid 
flashings of lightning, mingling with the roar of 
artillery — the crashing of rifles and musketr}^ to- 
gether with the shouts and yelling of the combat- 
ants, — and the smoke of the battle, all combined — 
formed a union of sights and sounds terrifically sub- 
lime. The old mountains trembled to their centres, 
and the frowning clouds strove to veil the bloody 
scene from the eye of heaven. 

Still the gallant force under May swept over the 
field, driving the enemy before them, while our 
artillery was playing hotly upon the retiring Mexi- 
cans, from different points of the plateau. 

" They swept onwards towards the mountains 
like a seine, and gathered this portion of the ene- 
my's force into a sort of cul-de-sac, from which it 
seemed impossible for it to escape. The Mexicans, 
who were thus hemmed in, were played upon by no 
less than nine pieces of our light artillery, at the 
same moment ; being the centre of a cross-fire from 
Reynold's pieces to their right, and O'Brien's and 
Thomas's pieces on their left, while Sherman and 
Bragg were tearing them up in front. Although at 
first they answered our troops by a fire of musketry, 


as the ground, from point to point, afforded them 
cover, yet, as they became more condensed, and the 
effect of our shot more destructive, they grew panic- 
stricken. Then horse and foot, mingled together, 
and, without pausing to resist the storm under which 
they suffered, pressed on, closer and closer towards 
the mountains. 

" These were the men who had killed our wound- 
ed, when they drove us in the morning. These v/ere 
the men who took no prisoners when they might 
have taken many. These were the men who left 
no sign of life in anything American, which had 
fallen into their hands, — the men who had stripped 
our poor fellows, and then stood over them, and 
mutilated their remains in the most horrible and 
revolting manner. They were the men who had 
received the surrendered sword of the Texan Lieu- 
tenant Campbell — a gallant gentleman — and then 
plunged it into his bosom. These were the men 
who in the morning had surrounded that gray-haired 
man, Lieut. Price, of Illinois, seventy-two years 
old, and cruelly forced their lances through him, 
as if for pastime. 

" Now they were going back over the same ground 
v/here all this had been done. We had but little 
consideration for those who had had no pity for our 
mangled and bleeding comrades. And every one 


knew if the battle finally went against us, what 
w^ould inevitably be his own fate. 

" All these things inspired our troops with a deter- 
mination never to despair of victory; and nerved 
them to push on, to the punishment of an enemy, 
who, in civilized warfare, had set the first example 
of murdering wounded men. 

"Faster and faster our troops gathered them into 
that little cove, in the side of the mountain. 

" They were about 5,000, or 6,000 in all ; cavalry 
and infantry, mingled in confusion ; — an armed 
multitude ; — a mere chaos of men and horses, and 
dead and dying, with flags, pennons, lances, and 
muskets, all mixed up. Hundreds of them endea- 
vored to escape by clambering up the steep sides of 
the mountains ; but most of them stood huddled 
together, while our shot went crashing through 
them, and our shells likewise, opening for them- 
selves a bloody circle wherever they exploded."* 

This w^as the condition of things when the Mexi- 
can commander, seeing the desperate situation of 
his right wing, sent a white flag to our general, 
with the extraordinary request to know " icliat he 
wanted .?" This w^as only a ruse de guerre on the part 
of Santa Anna, whose object was to divert our 

* Captain Carle ton's History of the Battle of Buena Vista. 


attention, and cause us to suspend our fire, until 
those troops could escape from their dangerous 

General Taylor gave orders for the cannonading 
to cease, while the Mexicans, disregarding their own 
flag, continued, dishonorably, to pour into us the 
fire from their eighteen and twenty-four-pounder 

General Wool, who w^as the bearer of the flag on 
our part, seeing this, would not hold an interview 
with the Mexican officer, but, putting an end ab- 
ruptly to the parley, returned to our lines. 

During this time, however, the Mexican general 
had accomplished all he had anticipated from the 
ruse, as the troops, who had suffered so much on 
our left, had profited by the occasion, and made 
good their retreat to their main body in our front. 

The battle was now principally concentrated 
upon the plateau and the ravines in front, where a 
force of over 12,000 infantry and lancers w^ere 
brought in contact with the troops of Illinois and 
Kentucky, under those brave and noble men. Colo- 
nels Hardin, M'Kee, and Bissell. These troops, 
but a handful, to an immense army, were necessarily 
forced to fall back, and seek the protection of one 
of the ravines. The overwhelming masses of the 
enemy rushed down upon them, and notwithstand- 


ing our artillery was literally mowing them down 
by platoons, still they pressed onward, and occupy- 
ing both sides, and the rear of the ravine, poured a 
murderous fire upon our troops, who were now 
completely pent up in it. They were being shot 
down by scores — the enemy killing in mere wan- 
tonness, while our poor fellows, from the narrow- 
ness of the gorge, and the steep sides, were unable 
to return their fire with any effect. Their situation 
was most desperate, when Washington rushed to 
their rescue, with his battery, and, forcing the 
lancers from between him and our friends, opened 
the passage for them to the road. The gorge was 
filled with our dead — all dead, as the blood-thirsty 
devils give no quarter to the wounded and dying. 
They murder for the fiendish love of blood. 

It was here fell those gallant-hearted, — best of 
men, — those heroic champions, who have added 
honor and lustre to the American name ; men whose 
names will be remembered as long as history en- 
dm'es, — M'Kee,* Hardin, Clay, Willis, Zabriskie, 

* Colonel M'Kee was stationed some time with me at Cerralvo, 
Avhere he relieved the two companies of Mississippians. I had an 
opportunity of becoming intimately acquainted with him. He was 
a most amiable and courteous gentleman; and, perhaps, no com- 
manding-officer was so universally beloved by his men as he was. 

He was one of those rare and peculiar characters, with whom but 
few individuals can come in contact, without forming an involuntary 


Haugliton, and a host of other noble spirits, — a 
priceless holocaust upon the altar of patriotism. 
The forces fiGfhtino: on our left, havinsf driven the 

CD Cj 'CD 

enemy, with whom they had been engaged, now 
hastened to the assistance of the handful, contending 
in front, and soon the battle became most terrific at 
this point. 

There was no cessation, or interval in the firing, 
but one continuous, uninterrupted roaring of artil- 
lery, belching of flame and smoke, and rushing and 
whirring of iron and leaden destructives. It was 
the most desperate struggle of the whole live-long 
day. O'Brien fought his guns, unsupported, till 
every horse and man was shot down, as before, in 
the earlier part of the day. He again 'kept the' 
enemy at bay, till the forces in the rear could hurry 
up, when, not being able to limber up his pieces, 

attachment. With the dignity and true manliness of an officer of 
rank, he possessed the gentleness and affection of a woman, and the 
social qualities of a gentleman of refined education. 

I can assert, with confidence, that, among the noble spirits who 
fell during that day, there was not one for whom so many manly 
cheeks were wet. 

M'Kee and young Henry Clay, — when their regiment was entire, 
—messed together, generally occupying the same tent. They were 
accompanied each by a favorite negro servant. A melancholy 
fatality attended this entire mess ; the boys did not long survive the 
deaths of their kind masters ; one being murdered by the Mexicans, 
in the streets of Saltillo, the day after the battle, and the other, I 
think, fell on the field fighting by his master's side. 


for the want of men, he was forced to lose them ; 
not, however, till he had several times, almost sin- 
gle-handed, disgorged their contents of lead and 
iron into the very teeth of the advancing Mexicans. 

Now it was that Bragg's battery came np, and 
opened npon the enemy. He, too, w^as without 
support — for there was none to give him. He was 
ordered to " maintain tlie j)osition at every hazard.^^ 
Soon he was joined by Sherman, — who immediately 
opened upon the Mexicans. They were now sup- 
ported by the dragoons. Now Washington opened 
again from La Angostura, and the troops, which had 
come down from the left, poured a leaden shower 
into the ranks of the enemy, wdio was now enfiladed 
from right to left. 

"The Mexicans fought as they had never fought 
before, and with an utter disregard of life. Our 
men were falling on ever}^ hand. General Taylor 
himself was in the midst of the hottest of the fight, 
calmly giving his orders, his clothes torn and riddled 
with bullets ; and wherever the fury of the battle 
was greatest, there was General Wool, riding from 
point to point, encouraging and stimulating the men 
to still greater exertions. Each moment our fire 
seemed to grow more and more destructive. At 
length, the head of the Mexican column began to 
fall back ; not by retreating, but by being shot 


away. Others pressed on to supply the places of 
the fallen; but they, too, went down. Finding it 
utterly impossible, notwithstanding all were advanc- 
ing, to gain even a rod of ground against such a 
tempest, the whole column finally faltered a moment, 
then gave way, and in confusion retreated to the 
cover of the deep ravine. Not till then did our fire 
slacken. The smoke, which had enveloped the two 
armies like a thick veil, then slowly lifted up, — and 
there was the field, blue with the uniforms of the 

The Mexican forces had now given ground before 
the plunging and deadly fire of our artillery, and 
the rifles of the Mississippians and Illinoisans. The 
battery of heavy guns still remained playing upon 
us, from the head of the plateau. 

Now was the time that Captain Bragg advanced 
and gave them a " little more grape.^^ His battery 
was the same that had done such essential service 
at Palo Alto and Kesaca de la Palma, under the 
command ©f the lamented Ringgold. Afterwards at 
Monterey it again proved its value under charge of 
Randolf Ridgely; — and, when that promising young 
officer was accidentally killed by the fall of his 
horse, the guns were passed over to Captain Bragg ; 

* Captain Carleton. 


— each time they changed commanders, falling into 
the hands of those who were most competent to 
receive them. 

This battery was brought to bear upon the heavy 
guns of the battalion of San Patricio, which had 
maintained its position since morning. 

This battalion was made up of Irish deserters from 
our army, under the command of a fellow named 
Riley. He had belonged to Ringgold's, now Bragg's 
battery, and beinsj a Catholic, wt.s induced to desert 
his colors, and went over to the enemy, a few^ days 
previous to the battle of Palo Alto. He w^as imme- 
diately given a battery, with a party of his ow^n 
countrymen to man it. They were all deserters ; — 
and this company, thus organized, formed the 
nucleus of Saint Patrick's battalion, — a gang of 
desperate cut-throats, about sixty of whom after- 
wards met the fate they so richly deserved ; — they 
were hung at Chepul tepee, by order of General 

Riley, having deserted before actual hostilities 
had commenced, could not, in strict accordance with 
the regulations, be put to death. But his punish- 
ment was greater. He was branded with the letter 
" D" upon his brow, and retained a prisoner with 
the army, where he was exposed to all the con- 
tumely and insult of his indignant countrymen, 


who had proved true to the country of then* adop- 

A short time previous to his desertion, Riley had 
been punished slightly, for some disobedience of 
orders, by his captain, and this is said to have been 
one cause of his desertion. He must have been of a 
most malicious and revengeful disposition ; for it w^as 
this man who, at the battle of Palo Alto, too skill- 
fully directed the piece that killed his old com- 

It was now late in the afternoon, and the firing 
began to slacken, from sheer exhaustion of the com- 
batants. Now, our attention was directed to the 
rear, by the sound of heavy cannonading in that 

General Miiion had attempted to get round to- 
wards the road, between us and Saltillo. He had 
been ordered by Santa Anna to remain on the east 
of the city, to be in readiness to massacre our retreat- 
ing columns, when we should give way before his 
victorious masses. But being weary of idleness, — 
not having his part of the programme to perform, — 
he had taken the responsibility upon himself, and 
moved forward, towards the hacienda of Buena 

Here he was met by Webster's battery, and was 
soon driven back to his former position. 


The gallant Lieutenants Bowen, Donaldson, and 
Shover, and other officers who had been detailed 
on duty in the town, not content with merely driv- 
ing Minon back to the point he had occupied all 
day, now determined to drive him entirely from the 
valley ; and in this they succeeded, by one of the 
most daring and gallant feats of the day. 

Night was now approaching, and gradually the 
firing ceased. One or two of the heavy pieces of 
the Irish Battalion kept up a sullen cannonading at 
intervals. They had stood their ground with a 
dogged bravery all day, and at night were not con- 
tent with the havoc they had made in our little 
ranks. But even their endurance, at length, failed 
them, and when the cold shadows of night fell over 
the field, and the dreadful objects which were strewn 
over it, a silence, as of death, prevailed. 

*' Sink, ob night, among thy mountains ! let the cool, gray shadows 
Dying brothers, fighting demons, drop thy curtain over all ! 
Through the tkickening winter twilight, wide apart the battle 

In its sheath the sabre rested, and the cannon's lips grew cold." 

Neither army had retired from the ground, but 

our little band of heroes remained upon the plateau 

they had so nobly maintained, while the enemy had 

been driven to the rear of their first position. 


" The night was a cold and gloomy one. and sad 
was the duty that now devolved upon our worn-out 
men ; — the collecting of our wounded, and convey- 
ing them to the cathedral, and other temporary 
hospitals in the city. These amounted to near 400, 
while the number of our poor fellows, whose stiff 
and stark remains were filling up the ravines, and 
strewn over the bloody plain, — mixed confusedly 
with the dark, swarthy forms of their foes — were 
almost 300. The loss of the enemy was 2,500, in 
killed and wounded — and 4,000 missing.'"* 

*' At length, the long hours of night had worn 
slowly away. Just before day, the moon went 
down. Soon afterward, the gray, and then the 
purple streaks of morning began to lighten up the 
eastern sky, and the stars, one by one, to melt into 
the blue of heaven. Gradually the surrounding 
objects became more and more distinct, as the day 
a^^proached. Then it was that a sound went along 
our lines, ever to be remembered. It was but a 
single cry at first, then a murmur which rose and 
swelled upon the ear like the voice of a tempest ; 
then a prolonged and thrilling, shout : 

" ' Victory / Victory ! Victory ! The enemy has fled! 
The field is ours P'' 

* Inspector-General Churchill. 


" Reader ! you should have heard the wild hurrah 
that then rang throughout that Pass — the long, ex- 
ultant, American ^^ Hurrah f^^ Even the old moun- 
tains themselves turned traitors for the moment, 
and yelled to their hoarse echoes to repeat it. 
Again, and again, it sounded, and right over the 
inanimate remains of the galhmt men who had 
poured out their blood, and yielded up their lives 
to win this new glory for their country. 

"And then, with mingled feelings of sorrow for 
the dead, joy for the victory, and gratitude to God, 
many a strong heart was moved; the big drops 
trickled down many a rough and pow^der-blackened 
face ; and stern, brave men, whose eyes, for many a 
long day, had not known the refreshing moisture of 
tears, w^ept now, — even while they shouted in 
triumph. And it w^as so ; — the heavy masses of the 
Mexican army, wdiich, when the night shut down, 
extended along our front, from the stream to the 
mountains, were nowhere to be seen, when the com- 
ing day had again lit up the Pass. Silently, and 
almost as unaccountably, as the phantoms of a vision, 
they had gone avray. But, in the twenty-five hun- 
dred dead aiid wounded men, whom they had left 
behind, and who would not vanish with the dark- 
ness, we had melancholy evidence that their having 
been before us, and struggled with us for two long 

252 CHILE cox CARNE. 

days, were something more real than the flitting 
vagaries of a dream."* 

The Mexicans had retreated under cover of the 
darkness, — strewing the roads, over which they 
fled, with the arms and accoutrements of the battle- 
wearied men, and the wounded and dying, they had 
hastily gathered from the field. For leagues, the 
track of their hurried retreat was traced by the 
trappings and clothing which, incommoding their 
march, were cast from them. 

And this was the end of the battle of Buena 
Vista, which Santa Anna had opened with so much 
hope and assurance. 

* Capt. Carleton. 


// I 

I- X ; -^ ^ '*? » -^' Vv V< * ' 


1. -^L~\v 


r^) FEBRUMY22".'i&23rf 

Pr/iTP 25:5 



^ Position of General Taylor and Staff on tlie 23rd. 

A. First column of attack of General Mora y Villamil. 

B. General Lombardini's Division. 

C. General Pacbeco's Division. 

D. D. Side of mountain on our left occupied by the light troops 
of Ampudia. 

E. Position of American Riflemen. 

F. The Mexican Eight-pounder Battery. 

G. Broad Ravine in front. 

H. Position of 2nd Indianians before they retreated. 
I. The 4 companies Arkansas Troops, from whence they retreated. 
■ J. Bragg- s Battery and M'Kee's Kentuckians. 
L. First Gorge. 
M. Second Gorge. 
N. Third Gorge. 

0. The 2nd Illinoisians. 

P. Two pieces of Sherman's Battery. 

Q. Two companies 1st Dragoons. 

R. R. Kentucky and Arkansas Cavalry. 

S. La Angostura. 

T. Rancho of Bueua Vista. 

U. Deep, impassable Gullies. 

V. M'CuUoch's Texas Rangers. 

W. High tongue of land uniting Angostura with the plateau. 

Y. The American Encampment. 

Z. O'Brien's Battery and 2nd Indianians at daybreak, 23rd. 

1. High ridge between the first divisions of the two armies. 

2. Ravine in rear of plateau. 

3. Colonel Lane's 3rd Indianians. 

4. 4. 4. 4. 4. 4. 4. The line of advance of the Enemy around our 
left flank, and in our rear, 
5. Corps de reserve of General Ortega. 







22nd and 23rd FEBSUAEY. 

(From Official Returns.) 



General Staff, A. A. Gen. Liucolu 

Corps Engineers. -. 

3rd ArtiHerj% 2 Companies, 

4th Artillery-, 1 Company, 

ist Dragoons, 2 CompanieR, 

2ud Dragoons, 2 Companies, 

Total of Re«;ulars,.— 



^S . 









■/2 c: 





















c c 








c o 






^ cS 






CQ fj"^ 


Brigadier General Lane, 



Arkansas Mounted Regiment, (Col. Yell) 







1st Kentucky Jlounted Reg't., (Col. Marshall). 






2ud Kentucky Foot Regiment, (Col. M'Kee), 






1st Illinois Foot Regiment, (Col. Ilardin), 






2nd Illinois Foot Regiment, (Col. Bissell), 







Texas Company, Foot. (Capt. Conner), 






2nd Indiana Foot Regiment, (Col. Bowles),.— 







3rd Indiana Foot Regiment, (Col. lane) 






1st Missisbippi Foot Regiment, (Col. Davis),.. 









4 215 

Total of Regulars, end Volunteers, 



Major Giddings in command of Escort.— Mr. Crittenden. — Captain 
Kenneally.— Bradley. — Keneally's '-Boys." — His Promotion. — 
His Death at Rio Frio. — Bradley's Men. — The Kentuckians. — 
The March. — An Incident.— Chile con Carne. — The Train. — Ap- 
proach to Cerralvo.— Charge of the Lancers. — Kenneally.- Char- 
acteristic Incident. — " Dinero ! Dinero V- — An Unlucky Cigarrito. 
— Infernal Machines. — Loss of the Enemy. 

There were many amusing, and sometimes tragical 
occurrences, which at the moment they happened, 
and perhaps a few days after, at the bivouac, and 
around our camp-fires, excited us to mirth, or caused 
feelings of sadness; but which, amidst the stirring 
incidents of those exciting times, were soon over- 
looked, and only brought to mind among the quiet 
scenes of home, long after the turbulent sounds of 
war had died upon the ear. 

The affair which occurs to my mind, as I uow 
resume my pen, and which I will relate, is one of 
a serio-comical character ; for, w^hile certain acts of 
the drama furnished amusement to one party of us, 
who were interested lookers-on, its results to the 
other party were anything but comical. 


It was early in the month of March, but a few 
days subsequent to the glorious day of Buena Vista, 
and while all the country between Monterey and 
Matamoros was yet invested by parties of the ene- 
my's troops, that Major Giddings, of the 1st Regi- 
ment of Ohio Volunteers, w^^s ordered to escort a 
train of wagons to and from Camargo, which was 
still the chief depot of our division of the army. 

Accompanying this escort was Mr. Crittenden, of 
Kentucky, who had been selected by General Taylor 
as the bearer of his official report of the battle of 
the 22nd and 23rd. 

The detachment under Major Giddings consisted 
of two companies of his own regiment,~Captains 
Kenneally's and Bradley's, — and three companies 
of the 1st Kentucky Infantry. Kenneally w^as a 
young Emeralder, with an Irish company. A braver 
little fellow never drew blade ; nor did a braver and 
more reckless, rollicking set of "boys" than he 
commanded ever shoulder firelocks on the battle- 
fields of Mexico. 

Kenneally had been promoted from a low non- 
commissioned rank in his company, grade by grade, 
in rapid succession, to its command. This quick 
promotion had been conferred upon him meritori- 
ously for his acts of daring bravery. Alas ! poor 
fellow! he afterwards, in a fit of despondency, at 


Rio Frio, and while under the command of General 
Scott, threw himself upon the point of his own 
sword, and, hero to the last, died like a Roman. 

Bradley was also in command of a fine set of 
fighting fellows ; and with the exception of their 
captain, the entire company had been tried in the 
storming of Monterey. Bradley himself had ob- 
tained leave of absence, just before the advance of 
the army upon that place, and had returned only in 
time to enjoy the results of the victory. His cour- 
age, however, had been tested in the patriot war of 
Canada, and, therefore, I suppose, cannot be ques- 

The Kentuckians were a portion of Colonel 
Rogers' fine regiment, and a better body of troops 
were not in the volunteer forces. 

With this command, Major Giddings left the 
camp of "Santiago," escorting a train of one 
hundred and fifty wagons. 

During the first day's march, but a few incidents 
occurred, save an occasional exchange of shots, 
between our advanced vedettes and small recon- 
noitering parties of the enemy. 

At Ramos, — one of our usual camping-grounds for 
the night, — we suddenly came upon one of these par- 
ties of Lancers, who, seated around their fires, were 
in the act of taking their suppers. 


Our unexpected arrival somewhat interrupted 
their arrangements, — so much so, that they imme- 
diately took to the cover of the chaparral, without 
so much as untethering their horses, which, of 
course, fell into our hands. 

But what w^as most interestino: to our huno^rv 
fellows, of all the camp equipage they left behind, 
were their steaming pots of chile con carne^ which, 
in their hurry to '•'vamos,''^ they had left upon the 
embers. Upon the ground were spread their scrapes, 
as they had thrown themselves upon them before 
their fires. Even their carbines, lances, sabres, and 
pistols were scattered upon the ground, as they had 
carelessly thrown them from them, on their first 
arrival. They had also neglected to place a guard 
around the camp, and we had thus come upon them 
unawares. ■ . 

As our men were greedily feasting upon their 
chile con came, v/e were much amused by a sudden 
assault upon them, of a party of women, who, 
thoughtful of the flesh-pots, had desperately returned 
to the camp, and, in spite of all the efforts of the 
men to prevent them, rescued from a squad, who had 
gathered around the savory mess, each a vessel, and 
again disappeared in the chaparral. 

These Mexican troops seldom move without a 
crowd of w^omen accompanying them. 


The men, who were thus unceremoDiously cheated 
out of their suppers, soon consoled themselves, with 
the fun we all derived from the incident ; and in an 
hour or two all was forgotten, in the sound sleep 
that a hard day's march brings to the weary soldier. 
All, save the guard on duty, were wrapped in their 
blankets by the same fires that the Mexicans had 
kindled for their own repose. No doubt, the poor 
yellow-skins that night, as they picked their way 
supperless through the prickly pears and thorny 
chaparral, tJwnght, — if they did not quote Latin, — 
Alas ! " sic transit gloria .'" 

We were rarely out of sight of scouting parties 
of Mexicans. They looked with longing eyes upon 
the long array of wagons which, reaching for miles, 
might be seen from the eminences, like a monstrous 
serpent, winding its gigantic length slowly along 
the crooked and uneven road. The bright sun, 
glancing upon the white canvas-covers of the 
wagons, above the tops of the chaparral, gave them 
the appearance of a long line of tents, moved by 
some magical agency. 

As the advanced guards, approached Cerralvo, 
which was half way on the route, the scouts re- 
turned, and reported a large body of lancers posted 
on the rising ground near the town. Ere the rear- 
guard, of which Captain Kenneally was in com- 


mand, got the report, the Mexicans came down on 
each flank, screened by the thick chaparral which 
bordered either side of the road, and thus succeeded 
in getting between the front and rear guards, so as 
to cut oif a number of wagons from the unprotected 
portion of the centre. 

It was, without doubt, a lack of foresight on the 
part of Major Giddings, in not placing the guards 
at short intervals through the train, that they might 
the better have supported each other, in the event 
of an attack. They might, also, the more readily, 
have formed into line along each side of the 

Experience had before taught us. that the Mexi- 
cans, in selecting the weakest point of attack upon 
a train, always fell upon the centre ; and before the 
guards from the distant extremities could arrive to 
their relief, they were rattling away by some con- 
cealed by-path into the thickets, — w^ith mules, 
wagons, and freight, — where it would be folly to 
pursue them. 

The firing at the centre first intimated to Kenne- 
ally the attack. He immediately formed his men 
into line, and deployed on each side of the train, 
not knowing from which hand the attack was in- 

With a cocked pistol in each hand, he passed 


hurriedly in front of his men, from one end of the 
line to the other, threatening to shoot down the 
first man that showed the least symptoms of cow- 

There was no need of this, for his men trembled 
only with eagerness to receive the assault. They 
did receive it gallantly, and were true to their trust. 
They saved the rear portion of the train ; while the 
Kentuckians, who defended the advance, also drove 
the lancers fmm that point. About forty wagons, 
from the unguarded, centre, fell into their hands. 
The attack was made by the Mexican General Urrea 
with a force of some two thousand lancers and 

When the cavalry came rattling down upon the 
centre, a characteristic incident occurred, which 
was related to me by the survivor of the individuals, 
who were concerned. 

There were two Irishmen, old friends and mess- 
mates, of Bradley's company, who, being foot-sore, 
had obtained permission to ride in one of the empty 
wagons. Their names were Eagan and Connelly. 
The last had lost three brothers, killed by the 
Mexicans in Texas, during the war of Independence. 
He was the last remaining one of his family. Con- 
nelly's hatred towards the entire Mexican people 
was naturally intense. This had led him to enlist ; 


and he gladly hailed the present as a good oppor- 
tunity to revenge his murdero^d brethren. 

As the lancers advanced, Connelly sprang from 
the wagon and gathered an armful of stojies, leaving 
his musket behind. Eagan, who had not yet reached 
the ground, cried out to him to take his gun. 

" Here, Michael ! take your gun, man ! What the 
divil are yer afther doin' widout her there ? Take 
her, I say!" 

"Och!" exclaimed Michael, "damn the ould 
firin'-iron ! T??i goiii^ to give the hloochj murthercrs the 
donnoclcs f and saying this, he rushed into the midst 
of the charging lancers, and actually scattered the 
brains of two or three of the foremost before he fell, 
transfixed by a dozen lances. 

As I said, about forty wagons were cut out from 
the centre of the train. Those were driven out of 
the road, and the booty was immediately overhauled 
by eager hands. One of these wagons happened to 
be loaded in part with boxes of ammunition for 
muskets and pistols, which somewhat resemble our 
specie boxes. 

The shout of ^'- Dinero! dinerof* (Money! money!) 
was raised, and called an "anxious meeting" of 
Mexicans around this particular wagon; — and many 
busy hands were quickly at work, unloading this 
valuable prize. 

A BLOW-UP. 263 

Now, the Mexican soldiers, like all of their coun- 
trymen, are at all times, save when sleeping, with a 
cigarrito in their lips. I have observed them, in the 
hottest of the fight, dodge behind some intervening 
object to light a cigarrito, and again resmne their 
weapons; while they seemed to enjoy the fragrant 
smoke " con mucho gusto,'''' Even when led out to 
be shot, I have known them to ask, as the last 
earthly favor, for one more farewell smoke. 

Of course, when this cargo of supposed specie 
was being examined, an unfortunate spark from a 
soldier's cigarrito communicated with the scattered 
powder on the bottom of the wagon, and — p-estof 
change! — the fractional portions of some thirty 
" yellow-skins" were scattered to the winds of the 
chaparral ! There was not found a fragment large 
enough to tempt a starving wolf. 

Simultaneous with this explosion, the word flew 
through the ranks of the disconcerted lancers, that 
this was but a trick of the maldhos Yengees, who 
had purposely permitted these wagons to be taken. 
They were infernal macJdnes ; and, in spite of their 
officers, they refused to have anything more to do 
with those diabolical Yankee contrivances. 

In consequence of this — to us — fortunate affair, 
the greater part of the wagons were easily recap- 
tured, among which were some that contained really 


valuable freight, as well as all the provisions and 
forage of the party. 

The loss of the enemy, in this attack, was over 
fifty in killed and wounded, as we ascertained from 
the citizens of Cerralvo on our return. 

We, also, lost fifteen teamsters, and two of the 

From this point Ave proceeded unmolested to Ca- 
margo, from whence, after a delay of two or three 
days, to load the train, we returned, without further 
incidents, to headquarters. 


The Texas Ranger. — His Horse. — His Regard for bis Steed. — Va- 
riety of Characters among the Rangers. — Their Intelligence. — 
Bravery and Skill as Soldiers. — Billy Anderson. — Visit to the 
Rangers' Camp.— The Rattlesnake.— Billy's Snake Performance. — 
The " Rattlesnake's Master."— A Medical Fact.— Case of Drunken 
Soldier in Florida.— The Attention of the Medical Officers called 
to the Fact. — The Author's Experience. — Cases of Poisoning by 
the Tarantula.-^Alcohol a Remedy. — The Modus Operandi. 

Nowhere, perhaps, could one find such an 
assemblage of extraordinary and eccentric charac- 
ters, as were to be met with in a Texas Ranger 
company. Here, men from all ranks and conditions 
of society were brousfht into contact. 

Here was the old, scarred hero of many a san- 
guinary Indian fight, whose head, for many months 
at a time, had not known the shelter of a roof; but 
whose only covering had been the " blue vault," 
and whose only food, such as his trusty rifle had 
furnished him. 

His hardy half-breed horse is to him not only 

confidential friend and companion, but almost wife 

and children, also. All his affections — the rough- 


looking, hardy man has a warm heart and kindliest 
impulses — are placed upon him ; for his intelligent 
little animal has shared with him all his dangers, 
hardships, and privations. 

The genuine Ranger may always be distinguished 
from the quasi-Texian, by the animal he rides. He 
is generally a cross of the mustang of the Texas 
plains, with the Kentucky or Virginia blood-horse. 
He possesses all the fire and endurance of the one, 
combined with the docility, intelligence, and speed 
of the other ; or, rather, all the best points and 
characteristics of the two races are more perfectly 
developed in the half-breed horse of the Texas 

The true Texian, under all circumstances, and at 
all times, whether on a march or in camp, is more 
regardful of the convenience and comfort of his 
steed than of himself. He will go hungry, if need 
be, that his horse may be fed. He will freely give 
him the contents of his water-gourd, and suffer 
from thirst himself, rather than his equine friend 
and comrade should be permitted to feel it. 

I have frequently, — during the cold northers, 
which are so common on the plains of Texas and 
Mexico, — seen the Ranger give up his own tent and 
blankets to his horse, and himself remain exposed 
to all the rigors of the storm. 

THE ranger's horse. 267 

The gallant animal, in turn, reciprocates his mas- 
ter's generosity, and springs with alacrity at his 
slightest word, — knowing and caring as little for 
danger as his fearless rider, — 

" But spirited, and docile too, 
Whate'er was to be done, would do ; 
Shaggy, and swift, and strong of limb, 
All Tartar-like, he carried him ; 
Obeyed his voice, and came to call. 
And knew him in the midst of all ; 
Though thousands were around, and night, 
Without a star, pursued her flight, 
That sleed, from sunset until dawn. 
His chief would follow like a fawn." 

Here, also, were found young men, who, being 
wearied and disgusted with the conventionalities 
and distinctions of artificial society, had sought for 
the freedom of a wild adventurous life on the plains 
of the southwest, and who, by actual services, and 
severe experiences, had acquired all the requisites 
and qualifications of hardy Rangers. 

Here, too, were met some few, perhaps, who, in 
some unguarded moment of their lives, had violated 
the laws of their country, and had sought refuge in 
the young republic, — where, away from all their 
former associations, and among strangers, their errors 
might be repented of, and forgotten like themselves. 
In many instances, doubtless, these men had left 


behind them, in the older States, not only their 
errors, bat their names;— and had buried, with their 
disgrace, all hopes of ever returning to the scenes of 
their dishonor. It was often, how^ever, that these 
unfortunate men proved themselves worthy of the 
esteem and respect of their associates and fellow- 
Rangers. Indeed, some of the best, and most prom- 
inent men of the early days of Texas, were of this 
class; — the errors of youth w^ere forgotten, in the 
valor and integrity of their after years. 

Here, also, were encountered adventurers of every 
profession, — doctors, lawyers, and even parsons, — 
who, having emigrated to the republic, and finding 
their professional services at a discaunt, and that 
fighting-men were in demand, had shouldered the 
rifle of the Ranger, and taken their first lessons, in 
their new profession, from the w^ld Camanches, 
those Bedouins of the southwestern plains. 

As a body, a more intelligent class could not be 
found, anywhere, than the Texas Rangers. Their 
bravery and skill as soldiers, the civilized world has 
acknowledged ; — and will continue so to do, as long 
as history retains upon her list of heroes, such names 
as— Hays, Walker, M'Culloch, Walter Lane, Chi- 
valle, Gillespie, and a score of others, of w^iose fame 
the country is justly proud. 

My intercourse with the Texians brought me in 


frequent contact with many " odd sticks," and men 
of the most eccentric ideas and habits. 

Old Billy Anderson was one of these men. He 
belonged, at the time I first knew him, to Captain 
Jack Hays' Company of Kangers ; — and was at the 
storming of Monterey. BiHy had been an old resi- 
dent of Texas ; having found his way there from 
some backwoods frontier, many years before ; — and 
while it was in the sole occupation of the roving 
tribes of hostile Indians. Indian-fighting had been 
his business and pastime, — and he could boast of 
the number of Camanche scalps he had taken, with 
the same coolness and gratification that the trapper 
would count over the number of his peltries. 

Like most men of his class, Billy was at times 
excessively intemperate ; and when an occasion pre- 
sented, and he was off duty, he would have a most 
glorious " spree" — which he would continue till the 
supply of liquor was stopped. Perhaps for weeks, 
and sometimes for months afterwards, he would live 
as soberly as an anchorite, and nothing could induce 
him to indulge in intoxicating drink. 

I had visited the camp of the Eangers, one morn- 
ing, and while leisurely riding through it, my 
attention was directed towards a group of Texians 
collected under the shade of a large tree. They 
seemed to be much amused at something going on 


there. Cariosity prompted me to turn my horse's 
head in that direction, and, on approaching nearer, 
I observed an old man, seated on a log, and holding 
in his hand a kind of cage, made of twigs. Within 
this cage was coiled a large and angry rattlesnake. 

This old man was Billy Anderson, w^io, when on 
one of his '• sprees," was fond of showing off his 
snake performance. For a fee of a drink of whisky, 
he would grasp the venomous reptile by the neck, 
just back of the jaw^s, and, drawing him forth from 
the cage, present to him the back of his left hand, 
or the muscular portion of his arm, for the disgust- 
ing creature to fasten his poison fangs into. 

The old man said he always carried about him an 
antidote, w^hich immediately neutralized the poison. 
At my request, he drew from his pocket a handful 
of small roots, about the size of my little finger, 
having somewhat the appearance of ginseng; — this 
he called the " rattlcsnalce' s maater.''^ 

I knew that the Indians, and also the Texians, 
were in the habit of carrying about their persons 
the root of a certain plant,* as a remedy for the 
bites of this and other serpents. They chew the 
root, swallowing the juice, and applying the masti- 
cated pulp upon the bite. 

* The Ai'istolocliia Serpentaria. Some use the Polygala, or Seneca 


There was no mistake in the snake being a very 
venomous one, and that he buried his fangs deeply 
into Billy's arm. In fact, both his arm and hand 
were covered with the cicatrices of former bites, 
received in similar foolish exhibitions. On this 
occasion the snake had just been caught, and pre- 
sented to Billy for the amusement of his com- 

The old man had been some days on a " bender," 
and his skin was pretty well filled w^ith whisky, — or 
rather of mescal or aguardiente, — and the wonder to 
me was, not that Billy experienced so little incon- 
venience from the fangs of the snake, as that the 
reptile survived the bite. 

Another fact, which I afterwards learned from the 
old man, was, that he never allowed the snake to 
bite him when sober; "For," said he, "the rattle- 
snake's master is not always sure without the 

I state this incident as illustrating a fact in medi- 
cine : that a drunken person will bear with impunity 
the bite and sting of most poisonous reptiles, which 
might prove immediately fatal to a sober man. 

As a further corroborative of the above, I would 
cite the case of a drunken soldier in Florida, who, 
while on a debauch, had staggered off outside of 
the camp, and, tumbling into a clump of bushes, 


was soon fast asleep. Some of his comrades were 
sent out in search of him, as Indians were known to 
be prowling in the vicinity. 

They found him lying in a drunken lethargy, 
where he had fallen ; and, the weather being ex- 
cessivel}^ warm, the soldier was clothed only in cot- 
ton shirt and overalls. The shirt had become hitched 
up to the shoulders, leaving his back, down to his 
waist, entirely naked. 

When found, the man was lying flat on his back ; 
and, on raising him from the ground, they dis- 
covered, to their horror, that he had thrown himself 
upon the opening of a den of rattlesnakes. He had 
actually fallen on three of those venomous reptiles, 
which, struggling in vain to escape from the weight 
of the soldier's body, had literally covered his back 
with the punctures of their poison-fangs. 

Instead of taking the drunken man to the guard- 
house, as was usual on occasions of drunkenness, his 
comrades bore him to the hospital, and reported his 
case to the surgeon ; while they awaited his death, 
which no one doubted v/as inevitable. 

The next morning, however, to the surprise of 
the surgeon, the man, who had slept off the effects 
of his debauch, and was still ignorant of what had 
occurred, begged to be returned to duty. He ex- 
perienced no more uneasiness from the bites of the 


serpents than would naturally result from so many 
simple punctures of needles. 

The attention of the medical officers was called 
to this fact ; and in a short time alcohol, in large 
doses, was resorted to, in every case of poisoning 
from the bites or stings of the venomous reptiles 
and insects, so common in the swamps and ever- 
glades of Florida. 

While on this subject, I will relate several cases 
that fell under my own immediate observation, 
where this remedy proved a complete antidote to 
the sting of that ^most disgusting and poisonous of 
all the venomous reptiles of hot climates, — the 

While stationed at Cerralvo, an infantry soldier, 
belonging to a fatigue party, gathering wood for 
fuel, was bitten in the wrist by one of these fearful- 
looking and vicious creatures. He was brought 
immediately to the hospital, — the time between 
receiving- the bite and his arrival not exceedinsj 
fifteen minutes, — yet the hand and arm, to the 
elbow, had become black and lived with ecchy- 
mosis, and having the appearance of gangrene. He 
described the agony he endured as being most ex- 

I immediately directed my steward to get the 

man "dead drunk" as soon as possible, at the same 


274 CHILE cox CARNE. 

time, applying to tlie hand and arm a poultice of 
charcoal, bread, and yeast, and to keep the man 
well wrapped in blankets. He recovered without 
further pain, and without sloughing of the parts, 
except in immediate contact with the bite. 

On another occasion, at the same post, an Ohioan 
received a bite from a tarantula, which had taken 
possession of one of his boots. The man, on draw- 
ing it on, was bitten on the great toe. I heard him 
cry out, and ran to his tent in time to kill the rep- 

I forthwith prescribed the usual remedy, and had 
the foot fomented in hot alcohol. In about two 
hours the man was under the complete influence of 
the liquor, and, being wrapped warmly in blankets, 
was allowed to sweat out the alcohol at the surface. 

Again I tried the same remedy for the bite of the 
tarantula, on a Texas Ranger, with the like good 

In all these cases there remained but little irrita- 
tion of the nervous system, save what would natu- 
rally arise from the excessive overdosing of the 

The modus ojyerandi may probably be explained in 
this way : the alcohol is a diffusible stimulant, 
while the venom of the reptile is a powerful seda- 
tive. They enter directly into the circulation in 


their pure or uncombined state by absorption, or, 
as is sometimes the case with the venom, by direct 
injection or transfusion into the venous system, and 
coming in contact, one poison neutralizes the other; 
perhaps upon the homoeopathic theory of ^^ similia 
simUihiis airanttir.'''* 


The Ranger Escort and Arrival at Marin. — Don Pablo and La 
Senora. — Tlie Guerrillas. — The Alcalde. — Don Vicente Ramero. — 
How his Acquaintance was formed. — General Tom Marshall. — A 
Sincere Friend. — His information in relation to El Mocho. — The 
Lieutenant of Rangers. — The Plan for a Fight. — Arrival of Dra- 
goons. — An Early March. — The Advance Piquets. — The Prison- 
ers.— The Approach of Day. — Setting the Trap. — The Guerrillas 
Appear. — '• Vfait, Boys!'' — Springing of the Trap. — The Effects. — 
The Guerrillas the best Runners. — Death of Dragoons, and Texlans 
Wounded. — The Lieutenant '•' delicately"' Injured !— Change of 
Positions. — The Struggle. — Desperation of Mocho. — Fight between 
the Texian Lieutenant and the Guerrilla Leader. — The Death of El 
Mocho. — Retreat of the Guerrillas.— The Train in Sight. — Gather- 
ing up of the Dead and "Wounded. — Loss of the Mexicans. 

Late on a sunny afternoon of December, 184S, a 
party of some twenty-five Texas Eangers, having in 
charge an express from the States, bound for head- 
quarters, entered the pleasant little town of Marin. 
I had joined this escort at Cerralvo, from whence 
we had ridden that day. We were all well mounted, 
and, having had an early start, had accomplished the 
distance, some eighteen leagues, in good time. 

It was not yet our usual hour for encamping, and 
we might have reached the camping-ground on the 


Salinas before nightfall; but, as we should have 
but a few hours' ride on the morrow, and good 
quarters were to be had in the town, we concluded 
to spend the night here. 

I sought the house of Don Pablo, an old Spaniard, 
with whom I had been for a lono^ time in the habit 
of stopping, on my halting at this place. He kept 
a kind of hostelry, where I was sure of finding a 
welcome, as well as a good supper of gallma, con 
hucvos ; while my horse would also be well provided 

The cheerful voice of the good-natured Don sa- 
luted me with his usual salutation : 

" Vmd. es en hora biiena, Sefior Medico; y mi casa 
est a miiy a su disjyosicion.^^* 

The muchacho relieved me of my horse, as I dis- 
mounted, and on entering the sola I met the cordial 
greeting of la Seiiora. 

" Sefior, had your party arrived a few minutes 
sooner," said she, " we of the puebla might have 
been favored with a little bit of a fandango.^'' 

"Yes!" joined in Don Pablo,— " £^ Mocho had 
but just left the plaza and the puebla, by way of 
the Campo Santo, as your party entered. 'Tis a 
pity we could not have had the pleasure of witness- 

* You arrive in good hour, Seiior Doctor; and mj house is at 
your service. 


ing the meeting of such warm amigos as El Mocho's 
men and your Rangers." 

'•But," asked I, "is there not a chance yet for 
the meeting ? Which way have they gone ? 

" To Guadalupe." 

" Then there is nothing to prevent our overtaking 
them, before their arrival ; 'tis but three or four 
leaorues from here." 

"True! amigomio; but have you forgotten that 
your horses have already had a hard day's ride, 
while those of the guerrillas are quite fresh ? Be- 
sides, Senor, El Mocho's band now numbers more 
than three hundred ; and your chance may be good 
to meet him before you reach Monterey." 

I was upon the point of imparting this infonna- 
tion to the lieutenant in command of the Rangers; 
but reflecting that my friend Don Pablo had a 
correct view of the subject, concluded to defer it till 
after their final dispositions had been made for the 
night. I knew that the fellows, ever eager for a 
brush with the guerrillas, would have sallied out 
upon them, late as it was, and in as bad condition 
as were their horses for the race ; and on this occa- 
sion, at least, I felt convinced that discretion was 
certainly the better part of valor. 

While I was discussing this matter with Don 
Pablo, we were joined by the Prefect, or Alcalde 


of the town, Don Vicente Romero, who had come 
to welcome my arrival. This gentleman I had 
known for a long time, and had made his acquaint- 
ance under the following circumstances. 

One morning, soon after the destruction of the 
train, and the massacre of the teamsters, near this 
place, I had an occasion to visit the guard-house in 
Monterey; and was struck by the appearance of 
two very intelligent and gentlemanly-looking Mexi- 
cans amongst the prisoners. They were surrounded 
by a crowd of drunken American soldiers, who had 
been gathered up by the patrol, from the streets, 
and low fandango houses, the night before. 

These gentlemen, it seemed, had been arrested 
on the accusation of a Mexican deserter, for com- 
plicity in that bloody affair. On entering into con- 
versation with them, I was not only much interested 
in them, but convinced, in my own mind, of their 
entire innocence. 

These gentlemen were Don Vicente, and his 
brother-in-law, Don Alejandro Garcia. The officer 
of the day being a particular friend of mine, I was 
permitted, by becoming responsible for their safe 
return, to take them to my own quarters, where 
they were provided with a better breakfast, and 
under more agreeable circumstances, than they 
could have had in the crovvdeJ guard-house. I then, 


in company with the officer of the day, called on 
General Tom Marshall, who was at the time military 
Governor of the city, and, representing the impro- 
priety of confining prisoners of their appearance 
with the drunken rabble of our guard-house, \Yas 
permitted to retain them in my own house, where 
a sentinel was placed over them, till they had had 
an examination. 

"Gentlemen," said the gallant Kentuckian, on 
granting our request, "I make it a rule to consider 
a prisoner innocent of the charge preferred against 
him, until he is iirovea guilt ij ; — and as you say 
these prisoners are gentlemen, I thank you for 
the courtesy you are disposed to extend to 

The General, as soon as possible, appointed a 
Board of Inquiry, to investigate the charges against 
them. They were found to be entirely groundless, 
and our friends were restored to liberty. 

This little act of courtesy, on my part, was grate- 
fully remembered by Don Vicente, who ever after 
remained a sincere friend ; and on passing Marin, as 
I frequently had occasion to do, I w^as always 
warmly embraced by him, and requested to make 
his house my own. And often have I experienced 
his kind hospitalities. 

The Alcalde also informed me of the recent 


departure of the guerrillas, and also, that they had 
retired to Guadalupe, with an intention to attack a 
small wagon-train, which was to leave Monterey 
on the following day. 

" You will, no doubt, find them to-morrow," 
said he, "in the heavy chaparral, between the Sali- 
nas and Agua Frio, where, from all I could gather 
from El Mocho, he will await the arrival of the 

" What is his force ?" I asked. 

"I should think," he replied, "about three hun- 
dred, or more; — too many I fear for your little party 
of Tejanos." 

"But, you know, Don Vicente, the Rangers are 
very devils incarnate. The difference in numbers is 
never counted by them. With their six-shooting 
carbines, their tw^o revolver-pistols, — to say nothing 
of the other tools they may have about them, — each 
man feels himself a match for more than a dozen of 
Mocho's fellows." 

" Quien saheT^ replied the Alcalde, with the usual 
shrug of the shoulder, and a good-natured laugh, — 
^^qiden sabe! — we will see!" 

After disposing of the excellent supper the friendly 
Don Pablo had provided, I started in search of Lieu- 
tenant Smith, of the Rangers, and communicated to 
him the information I had obtained in relation to 

282 CHILE cox CARXE. 

the movements of the guerrillas, — and desired to 
know what course he intended to pursue. 

" We will fight them, of course," said he. " They 
will, no doubt, pass the night at Guadalupe, with 
the intention of secreting themselves in the chap- 
arral, in the morning, near Agua Frio, — there to 
lie in readiness to pounce upon the wagons and 
escort as they pass along; — and as they will not 
probably reach that point before the middle of the 
day, the guerrillas will be in no hurry to take 
cover. In the mean time we can start early, and 
reach the place before daylight, and, unperceived by 
them, get possession of the ground they intend to 
occupy, where we can remain concealed, — and, on 
their coming up, fall suddenly upon them, and take 
them by surprise." 

This plan was, no doubt, the best that could be 
adopted. We would have the advantage of the 
cover of the thickets, where the enemy would be in 
ignorance of our small numbers ; and we could shoot 
them from their horses, as they came carelessly along 
the open road. We could also give notice to the 
advancing train ; and, if need be, have the assistance 
of its little escort. 

The Lieutenant left me to communicate with his 
men, and agreeing to meet me at the house of my 
friend, Don Vicente. 


As I left the quarters occupied by the Texians, 
and returned to the house of Don Pablo, I detected 
the sound of approaching horsemen, in the direction 
of the road we had just passed over. It proved to 
be a party of some fifteen dragoons, v^rith an officer 
on his way to headquarters, where he had been 
summoned to attend a court-martial in session there, 
as a witness 

This little party, now added to the Rangers, made 
a force of upwards of forty men, — full enough, with 
the advantages we anticipated, to cope with the 
three hundred guerrillas we hoped to engage. 

The Rangers, in the mean time, had received 
their instructions, and were notified to hold them- 
selves in readiness for an early start on the morrow. 
The lieutenant and his dragoons were also to join 
us. Accordingly, some two hours before day, and 
before any of the people of the town were astir, we 
were on our way. 

The orders were to proceed cautiously, with as 
little noise as possible, lest the guerrillas, being 
aware of our arrival at Marin, might have stationed 
a inquct guard at the ford of the Salinas, to give 
notice of our movements. Such being the case, it 
was necessary for us to advance without attracting 
their attention. 

A party of half a dozen selected men were detailed 


to precede the main body, on foot, and ascertain if 
such were the fact. We were to halt about a quar- 
ter of a mile from the stream, to await their return. 
Advancing under cover of the darkness, these men 
discovered a partially concealed camp-fire on the 
further side of the river. Silently approaching the 
river, and crossing it a little below the ford, they 
passed up along the bank, under cover of the thick- 
ets, and came suddenly upon a party of three Mexi- 
cans, stretched upon the ground by the smoulder- 
ing fire, and, wrapped in their serajics, snoring off 
their morning sleep ; v/hile, a little way off*, near 
the ford, they observed the outlines of a sentinel on 
the look-out, up the road towards Marin. 

The Texians came upon them so quietly that, 
before the sleepers were awake, or the sentinel sus- 
pected their presence, they were all unarmed, and 

They were given in charge of four of the part}^ 
while the other two returned to us and reported 

We learned from the Mexicans, that they had 
been left at the ford to watch our party, with in- 
structions to report at Guadelupe when we should 

El Mocho wished to avoid us, and, supposing that 
we were ignorant of their intentions, had no doubt 


we would proceed directly to Monterey, — leaving 
the road open for them to fall upon the train. 

Taking our prisoners along with us, we continued 
our march till we passed about two miles beyond 
the Salinas, where, coming into the heavy chapar- 
ral, w^e concluded to halt and await the approach 
of the guerrillas. 

We dismounted, and hitched our horses some dis- 
tance from the road, where, behind a small ridge, 
they w^ould be out of sight, and, in case of a fight, 
out of harm's way. 

Our prisoners were secured, also, in the rear, with 
a guard over them, and the horses. 

By this time, the first gray streaks of daylight 
began to glimmer over the landscape, — partially 
lighting up the deep recesses of the chaparral, 
where we had taken cover. Further, and further, 
the vision could stretch along the dim vista of the 
road we had passed. Slowly the distant moun- 
tains reared their dark masses from out the general 
gloom; — then a faint gleam, at first, lighted the 
spires of the western ridges, w^hich, brightening and 
spreading, at length gilded the mountain-sides, — 
bringing into bold relief the floating clouds and 
mist-wreaths, moving over their broken faces; — 
then, from the eastern ridges, the beams of the 
morning sun streamed up, pouring a flood of golden 


light down their ragged cliffs, — illuminating the 
deep ravines, and gorges which seamed their rocky- 
fronts, — and day — bright, clear, unclouded, sunny 
day, — w^armed and glowed upon the dewy land- 

As the stars of morning sank, one by one, behind 
the craggy tops of the Sierra Madre, and the beams 
of the approaching day appeared, — they were wel- 
comed at first, by the faint and occasional " chirp" 
of some little dweller of the chaparral ; and, as the 
night faded gradually away, the voices increased in 
number and volume — each note awaking still an- 
other, and another — till, when the full beams of 
day appeared, the thickets were made vocal with 
the songs of birds, and the mingled whirring and 
chirpings of the myriad insect life of the southern 

We did not look for the advance of the guerrillas 
for some hours yet ; and, as we were completely 
screened by the vine-tangled thickets, our men 
drew from their well-filled haversacks the breakfast 
they had prepared at their mess-fires the night 
before, and sat down to it with a double relish, 
after their early morning ride. 

When we had dispatched this exteni]3ore meal, 
our final arrangements w^ere made for the reception 
of the " yellows-skins." First, a number of Rangers 


were sent off to reconnoitre the bridle-path which 
came into the road we were on, a short distance in 
our rear. This was the only route the guerrillas 
could take from Gruadalupe, which village lay 
among the hills to the northeast of us. 

Our main party was formed in a line parallel 
with the road ; and where an opening in the 
thicket occurred, it was filled up with the green 
tops of bushes, cut up on the spot with the sabres 
of the dragoons. 

Thus prepared, we silently and patiently waited 
till about ten o'clock, when our scouts came in 
with the good news that the guerrillas were, at 
length, abroad, and were advancing towards the road. 

Every man of our party was prepared, and hoping 
anxiously for the opening of the fandango. Their 
weapons had been thorougly examined, and freshly 
capped ; and in our little force of forty men, were 
nearly five hundred shots to be used, before it would 
be necessary to reload a piece. 

As our returned scouts took up their places in 
the line, we heard the tramp of the Mexicans' horses, 
and presently they came in sight down the road. 
The one-handed leader was riding in advance, fol- 
lowed by his entire band, — consisting, as my friend 
Don Vicente had informed me, of more than three 
hundred desperate, dare-devil fellows. 


We saw, by the swaggering and confident manner 
they came along, that they dreamed not of the trap 
we were about to spring upon them. 

The word was passed in whispers along our line, 
— "Wait, boys! till they come close up. Shoot 
down their horses first, to prevent escape, — and 
then finish the greasers !" 

On they came, thoughtless of danger; not a word 
w^as spoken by our men, as each one firmly grasped 
his w^eapon ; and when the Mexicans filled the road 
in front of us, they were suddenly startled by the 
'■^ click ! click ! click /" of our gun-locks, followed in 
rapid succession by the fearful word ^^firc!^'' and 
the more fearful and deadly volley from our whole 
force ! Down tumbled horses and riders, mingled 
together in the dusty road, — riderless horses reared 
and trampled franticly over the dead and dying. 
The yelling of the infuriated guerrillas, and the 
shouting of our men, with the furious struggling of 
the w^ounded animals, and the continued and rapid 
discharges of our carbines and revolvers, altogether 
formed a pandemonium revolting to the senses. 

For an instant, the guerrillas were panic-stricken. 
Those in the rear, w^ho had escaped unhurt from the 
first volley, turned their horses' heads, and were 
rapidly flying on the back track. El Mocho's horse 
had been shot down, but himself, as yet, had es- 


caped unhurt. Springing into the chaparral on the 
opposite side of the road, he called his men to 
gather around him. About a hundred and fifty- 
obeyed the call, and, yelling like infuriated de- 
mons, now returned our fire, — at the same time, 
falling back along the road leading towards Agua 
Frio. Some three hundred yards from where they 
had taken cover, and on the same side of the road, 
was a cultivated field, fenced in by a close, brush 
hedge, while, opposite to it, was an open space, or 
what had once been a pasture. This was without 
a fence or bushes, and afforded no shelter whatever. 
We, at once, saw that it was the design of the 
guerrillas to get under the shelter of this hedge, — 
and Lieutenant Smith gave the order to charge out 
upon them, if possible, to frustrate their object. 
But the Mexicans proved themselves the best run- 
ners, and, before we could recover the friendly 
shelter of our chaparral, they had gained the hedge, 
from whence they sent a volley of shot after us, 
which killed two of the dragoons, and wounded 
three of the Rangers, among whom was their com- 
manding-officer. The Lieutenant's wound, how- 
ever, was not of a very serious character, — it only 
made it necessary, afterwards, when on our way to 
Monterey, for him to mount his horse lady fashion. . 

We now changed our ground, and crossing the 


road, poured a promiscuous fire into them, — all the 
time advancing, step by step, under the partial 
cover of the thickets ;' and when within about a 
hundred yards of their left, we charged, with a 
rush, over the hedge, and v/ere in the midst of 

The fight was now a hand-to-hand-struggle, — but 
the six-shooters of the Rangers, and the sabres of the 
dragoons made quick work of it. The slaughter was 
great, as the guerrillas, knowing they had no right 
to expect quarter, as they had never given it, fought 
like devils. Their Captain fought desperately, — 
calling on his men to fight to the death, — yelling 
defiance at the ^^maldito TeJa?ios,^^ and exhibiting all 
the ferocity of a wounded lion. His belt was filled 
with revolver pistols, which, as fast as he dis- 
charged, he flung at the heads of the closing Ran- 
gers. While using his pistols, he carried his heavy 
sabre under his handless arm. 

Young Smith, still smarting from his vis a tergo, 
now seeing good opportunity to revenge himself, 
rushed into the crowd of guerrillas, who fought 
around their leader ; clearing a track through them 
with his sabre, he stood before the stalwart Mexican. 
As the latter sprang towards him with his uplifted 
sabre, the Texan, taking deliberate aim with his 
revolver, planted a ball into the very centre of his 


forehead ; — and El Mocho, the terror of rancheros, 
and long the pest and annoyance of the Americans, 
lay at his feet, — his life-blood welling up hotly 
from the little wound. 

The fall of their leader scattered the guerrillas in 
dismay. They fell back in all directions, whilst the 
Texians pursued them, and shot them down, till 
weary of the bloody work. 

Some few of the Mexicans succeed'fed in scrambling 
over the hedge, and regaining their horses, which 
had been running, w^ounded and affrighted, through 
the thickets. But the greater number were glad to 
escape into the deep chaparral, wdiere they remained 
secreted till we had left the vicinity. 

This affair was no sooner over, than the train hove 
in sight, descending ttie hill beyond Agua Frio. 
We gathered up our dead, six in number, two dra- 
goons and four Rangers, and our wounded, which 
amounted to eleven. But a few only of the latter 
w^ere seriously injured ; and when the wagons came 
up, w^e detached two of them to convey the killed 
and wounded to the camp, wdiile we ^remounted, 
and brought up the rear. 

When we had retired, the fugitive guerrillas re- 
turned to the spot and gathered up their own killed 
and w^ounded, some fifty of whom lay scattered 
over the ground. 


The First Volunteers a better Class of Mea than those who came 
towards the Close- of the War. — The Private sometimes socially 
superior to his Officer. — The Rifle Regiments of Texas and Missis- 
sippi. — I'he Northern Yoluateexs. — The genuine Texas Rangers. — 
The pseudo-Texians. — The Gang of "Mustang Grey." — Like Fal- 
staff's Ragamuffins. — Their only Object Plunder. — Their Murder of 
the Rancheros of Guadalupe. — Cauales' Proclamation, and Com- 
mencement of Guerrilla Warfare. — The Proclamation was unheeded 
by the better class of Mexicans. — News from New England. — A 
Regiment from Old Massachusetts. — A Regiment expected of whom 
we might be proud. — Bad Reports.— Egregiously sold. — The State 
disgraced. — The Murder of Harrison Beal. — The Circumstances. — 
The Burial of poor Beal. — Scott drawing off our Forces. — Conver- 
sation between the General and Major Bliss. — The Regiment under 
Marching Orders. — Another Murder. — A Portion of the Regiment 
remain in Confinement in the Castle of San Juan de Ulloa till 
Close of the War. — Meeting of North Carolinians. 

The first volunteer forces, which, in obedience to 
the requisitions on the different States, hastened to 
the reenforcement of General Taylor, were made up 
of altogether different materials from those troops 
who were sent to the country towards the close of 
the war. 

The first were impelled by generous and not 


mercenary motives. They were the culled men of 
the country; and were mostly young men, — the 
majority of them from the best ranks of society, — 
men of education and refinement. Gentlemen were 
as often found in the ranks, with musket or rifle on 
shoulder, as amongst the officers; and not unfre- 
quently was it the case, that the private on duty as 
sentinel, saluted his commanding officer, whom he 
would scarcely have recognized at home. They 
were brave, proud-spirited fellows, with just vanity 
enough to feel that all the eyes and hopes of the 
country were fixed upon them. And each individual 
had a due sense of his responsibility to his conntiy, 
and counted himself, and justly so, a host in himself. 
Such were the rifle regiments of Texas and Missis- 
sippi, the infantry and rifle regiments of Louisiana 
from the South, and the forces raised in the States 
of Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio 
from the North. It is also true that many other 
volunteer regiments, who arrived in the country 
soon after the taking of Monterey, were made up of 
good materials; and, in the majority, were well 

Of all the southern volunteers of General Taylor's 
division, the Mississippians and Texas Rangers most 
distinguished themselves. They were in all the 
battles of that line, after those of Palo Alto and 


Resaca de la Palma. At Monterey and Buena Vista, 
these gallant troops were cruelly cut up. Hardly 
one-tenth of the members of those veteran regiments 
were returned to their homes, — and those with 
shattered constitutions. The first Rangers from 
Texas, of whom I have already spoken, were the 
genuine, brave, and hardy pioneers of that young 
and rising State. They were the men of Goliad and 
San Jacinto ; — men whose greatest sport was an 
open prairie-fight with the untamable Camanches. 
They had measured arms with the Mexicans, and 
had a just appreciation of them. They knew their 
weakness, and how to take advantage of it. 

But some of the so-called Texas Rangers, who 
came into the country at a later period, were mostly 
made up of adventurers and vagabonds, whose whole 
object was plunder. Like FalstafF's ragamuffins, 
they were — " Such as, indeed, were never soldiers ; 
but discarded, unjust serving-men, — -younger sons to 
youngest brothers ; — revolted tapsters, and hostlers 
trade-fallen; — ten times more dishonorable and 
ragged than an old-faced ancient !" 

The gang of miscreants under the leadership of 
'^Mustang Greif were of this description. This 
party, in cold blood, murdered almost the entire 
male population of the rancho of Guadalupe, — 
where not a single weapon, offensive or defensive, 


could be found! Their only object being plun- 

Instead of having these scoundrels hanged, as tl>ey 
deserved, the General could only order them out of 
the country. 

Others came after them, but were not mustered 
into service ; — the General declaring that the Ameri- 
can army should be no longer disgraced by such 

It was the acts of such men as these, that pro- 
voked, the retaliatory cruelties and murders of the 

The following manifesto was tj^ken from a cap- 
tured guerrilla, belonging to the band of Canales, by 
Lieutenant Bee, of Lamar's Rangers, and shows how 
the unprovoked murder of the people of Guadalupe 
was received by the Mexicans. 

*' I this day send, to the Adjutant Inspector of the 
National Guards, the following instructions : 

" I learn, with the greatest indignation, that the 
Americans have committed a most horrible massacre, 
at the rancho of Guadalupe. They made prisoners, 
in their own houses, and by the side of their fami- 
lies, twenty-five peaceable men, and immediately 
shot them. 

" To repel this class of warfare, wdiich is not v/ar, 
but atrocity in all its fmy, there is no other course 


left us than retaliation ; and, in order to pursue 
this method, rendered imperative by the iatal cir- 
cumstances above-mentioned, you will immediately 
declare martial law, with the understanding that, 
eight days after the publication of the same, every 
individual, who has not taken up arms, (being capa- 
ble of so doing), shall be judged a traitor, and 
instantly shot. 

" Martial law being in force, you are bound to 
give no quarters to any American whom you may 
meet, or who may present himself to you, even 
though he be without arms. 

" You are also directed to publish this to all the 
towns in this State; forcibly impressing them with 
the severe punishment that shall be inflicted for the 
omission of this order. 

*'We have arrived at that state, in which our 
country requires the greatest sacrifices ; her sons 
should glory in nothing, but to become soldiers, and, 
as brave Mexicans, to meet the crisis. Therefore, if 
the army of invasion continues, and our people 
remain in the towns, which they have molested, 
they deserve not one ray of sympathy ; nor should 
any one ever cease to make war upon them. 

" You will send a copy of this to each of your 
subordinates, and they are authorized to proceed 
against the chiefs of their squadrons, or against their 


colonels, or any other, even against me, for any in- 
fraction of this order — the only mode of salvation 
left. The enemy wages war against us, and even 
against those peaceable citizens who, actuated by 
improper impulses, desire to remain quiet in their 
houses. Even these they kill without quarter ; and 
this is the greatest favor they may expect from them. 
The only alternative left us, under these circum- 
stances, is retaliation ; which is the strong right of 
the offended against the offending. To carry this 
into effect, attach yourself to the authorities. Your 
failing to do this will be considered a crime of the 
greatest magnitude. 

" All the officers of the troops are directed to 
assist you in carrying out this order ; and it is dis- 
tinctly understood, there shall be no exceptions. 
Neither the clergy, military, citizens, nor other per- 
sons, shall enjoy the privilege of remaining peace- 
ably at their homes. 

*' The whole of the corporation shall turn out 

with the citizens, leaving solely as authority of the 

town, one of the members, who is over sixty years 

of age ; at the same time, if all the members are 

capable of bearing arms, then none shall be excepted ; 

leaving to act some one who is incapable of military 

service. You yourself must be an example to others, 

by conforming to this requisition. And I send this 


to you for publication; and charge you to see it exe- 
cuted in every particular ; and communicate it to all 
the commanders of the squadrons in your city, who 
will aid you in carrying into effect these instruc- 
tions ; and, in fact, you are directed to do all, and 
everything, wdiich your patriotism may prompt. 
God and Liberty !" 

This document w^as extensively circulated amongst 
the people ; and no doubt excited many of the lower 
classes, and soldiery, to acts of outrages and murder. 
They were prompted as much by fear of the threats 
it contained, as by a spirit of retaliation and re- 
venge. There is no doubt, but that the system of 
guerrilla warfare w^ould have been adopted by the 
Mexicans, had not those atrocities been committed 
by the cut-throats unfortunately attached to our 
army ; — but it is very reasonable to suppose that it 
would not have been marked by such implacable 
hatred, as certainly distinguished it. 

However, to the honor of many of the simple- 
hearted rancheros, as well as to the more intelligent 
citizens of Monterey, it should be recorded, that 
those outrages of the so-called Texians were looked 
upon in their true light. They well knew that they 
w^ere repudiated, not only by the Commanding- 
General, but also by all the respectable portion of 
the American army. By these persons, therefore, 


the cold-blooded proclamation of Canales was treat- 
ed with the disrespect it deserved ; and our friendly 
intercourse with them remained uninterrupted till 
our final evacuation of the country. 

''Prince Henry. — "WhOvSe fellows are these that come after? 
"■ Falstaff.—l^imQ, Hal, mine. 

''Prince Henry. — I did never see such pitiful rascals. 
" Falstaff. — Tut, tut ! Good enough to toss : food for powder, 
food for powder ; — they'll fill a pit as well as better." 

As yet the New England States had not been 
represented in the volunteer forces ; but at length, 
after all the battles of Taylor's line had been fought, 
and our army was in quiet possession of the coun- 
try, from the shores of the Gulf to the interior, 
beyond the eastern range of the Sierra Madre, — a 
rumor reached us, that old Massachusetts w^as rais- 
ing a regiment to send to us; that a son of her first 
of statesmen w^as to accompany it ; and that not 
only would this regiment come with the imple- 
ments of war in one hand, but with the printing- 
press, — the engine of peace and civilization, — in 
the other. 

With the name of Massachusetts was associated 
the Roman virtues of her earlier history ; — Bunker's 
Hill, and the blood of her noblest sons, so freely 
poured forth through the lung struggle of the Revo- 


lution, — and the heroic stand her people have ever 
since taken in the moral struggle for human rights, 
and for the elevation of the standard of our national 

We reasonably hoped that this regiment would 
represent the genuine Yankee stock of the State, 
and that we might point to it with pride, and say 
to the Mexican people: "See! there is a body of 
the true men of the north." 

The time seemed long since they were reported 
to have left their native State, before they arrived, 
so desirous were we to see them, and welcome them 
to our ranks. 

At length, w^e of Monterey heard of the landing 
of this regiment at Matamoras. The same express, 
also, brought reports of excesses and outrages per- 
petrated upon the citizens of that town, by some of 
these men ; but we were not willing to give cre- 
dence to tl:i€ reports. There certainly was some mis- 
take. The Massachusetts men had been confounded 
with some o£ the discharged desperadoes ; — for cer- 
tainly Massachusetts men were not of that qualit3\ 
But at last, when the long-looked-for regiment 
reached us, and was marched into the city, we 
found, to our mortification, that we had been most 
egregiously sold. Never was the name of the glori- 
ous old "Mother of the Nation" so ungenerously 


used, as when applied to this promiscuous assem- 
blage of unwashed foreigners, from the sea-ports and 
manufacturinG: towns of that State. 

Some of the officers were gentlemanly men, worthy 
of being attached to a more respectable corps. 
Some were, indeed, "men of Massachusetts;" but 
there was not enough of the New England element 
in the regiment to give character to the mass. A 
number of these officers left, soon after arriving in 
the country, — young Webster among them, — and 
attached themselves to the other corps, or were 
transferred, at their own requests, to some of the 
departmental offices. 

It was at the time this regiment was stationed in 
the city of Monterey, that the brave old Texian, 
-Harrison Beal, was deliberately murdered in cold 
blood, by order of the colonel* of the regiment. 

The ch'cumstances were these : — poor Beal had 
been a member of Colonel Jack Hays' regiment of 
Eangers, and was one of the first to enter the city, 
on the 21st of September, 1S46; and, like others of 
that corps, had been permitted to remain in the 
town, where he had started a very profitable busi- 
ness, as a saloon and restaurant-keeper. He had 
just purchased a fine American horse, of some vol- 

* Not C— b C— ng, of Senarita celebrity. He had become one of 
Mr. Polk's •' generals." 


unteer officer, about to return home, and had made 
up a party of friends to visit the hot springs of 
Agtia Cidicnte, on the morrow, (Sunday). Accord- 
ingly, in the morning he started to ride through the 
plaza, to the place where he had appointed to meet 
his friends. The plaza was large, and the smooth, 
level ground tempted the Texian to put his new 
horse through his paces. On one side of this square 
was the guard-house, occupied by some of the 
" Massachusetts men ;" — and a sentinel with a loaded 
musket, pacing up and down before it. At the 
moment Beal was crossing the plaza from one side, 
the Colonel entered it in the opposite direction. 
The tw^o men w^ere well acquainted, — the officer 
beino; sometimes a customer at the saloon of the 
other. Beal saluted him familiarly, with " Good- 
morning, Colonel ;" which was returned with the 
inquiry, " Why in h — 1 he rode so flist?" — and an 
order to halt! Beal slightly checked his horse, and, 
supposing the officer only in a gossiping humor, 
good-naturedly replied, " that he was in a hurry to 
meet some friends, and could not stop." The Colo- 
nel then abruptly turned towards the Irish sentinel, 
and ordered him to "shoot down that damned 
Texian !" The order was no sooner given than the 
soldier brought his piece to his shoulder, and, de- 
liberately aiming at Beal, as he rode by, shot him 


througli the heart ! He tumbled headlong from his 
horse, — dead ! 

The body of the murdered man was dragged into 
the guard-house ; where his friends were not per- 
mitted to enter, or to give it decent burial. After 
lying in one corner of the room, in a puddle of its 
own blood, for several hours, it was trundled off to 
the Tanyard fort ; where it was thrown into a shal- 
low pit, and disposed of, like the carcass of a dog. 

The indignation of the Texians, and other Ameri- 
cans in the town, was very great ; and it was witli 
difficulty that the Texians could be withheld from 
an attack upon the quarters of the murderer. A 
more cold-blooded and unprovoked act of homicide 
was never perpetrated. 

The friends of poor Beal had his body removed to 
his own house, where it was washed, and decently 
placed in a coffin. It was afterwards attended by a 
large procession to the grave ; and w^as interred as 
the remains of a vrorthy man, and brave soldier 
should have been. 

Soon after this, while the administration was en- 
deavoring to cripple General Taylor, not only by 
withholding necessary supplies of men and muni- 
tions, — but had instructed General Scott to draw 
on him for his available forces, and Taylor had 
yielded regiment after regiment, and battery -^fter 


battery, till obedience had ceased to be a virtue ; and 
the General determined not to part with another 
man worth retaining, — he said to his Adjutant-Gene- 
ral, — " Major Bliss, the next requisition Scott makes 
upon us, send him that infernal Massachusetts regi- 
ment. I have no need of them, — and he is quite 
welcome to them." 

"And I am sure. General," replied the Major, 
" w^e shall then uo longer be troubled w^ith his 

Accordingly, in a few days this regiment was 
under marching orders ; — and w^as to proceed to 
Matamoras, from whence it was to be shipped to 
Vera Cruz. 

The day the regiment left town, was marked by 
another murder. As it passed over the Virgin's 
Bridge, on the way towards the general camp, — a 
drunken Irishman refused to proceed further. This, 
of course, created some confusion in the ranks. The 
order was given, "Shoot the damned rascal!" — and 
one of his comrades, — as drunk as himself, — delib- 
erately blew out his brains ! 

" Forward march !" — and the regiment moved on, 
as if nothing w^orthy of note had occurred. The 
body of the murdered man lay on the bridge for 
some hours, — when some of the residents in the 
vicinity removed it, and gave it a hasty burial. 

THE " nor' CAr'lINE" REGIMENT. 305 

It is also a notorious fact, that the character of 
this regiment was such, that, on arriving at Vera 
Cruz, General Scott ordered a portion of it to gar- 
rison the castle of San Juan de Ulloa, where they 
were detained, virtually as prisoners, till the termin- 
ation of the war. 

Perhaps I should be guilty of gross injustice, to 
pass over, unnoticed, another body of volunteers, 
who came to the country towards the close of the 
war. This was the regiment from North Carolina. 

My introduction to these new levies occurred in 
this wise : — I was on the road to Caraargo, when, 
one pleasant morning, having passed Punta Aguda, 
I observed a small grassy glade, a little distance 
from the wagon-track. Its bright verdure tempted 
me to turn aside, that ray horse might refresh him- 
self upon its rich herbage. 

The train, consisting of some two hundred wag- 
ons, escorted by Texas Pangers, had filed past me, 
as I lay upon the ground, enjoying the apparent 
gusto with which my steed cropped the juicy 

I lay thus, — half asleep, half awake, when the 
sound of voices approaching along the road, from 
the opposite direction, attracted my attention : 

"Now them's Texas Rangers, be they?" 

" Yes ; so the teamsters said." ^ 


" Wal ! I'll be smoked in a tar-kill, ef they ain't 
jest like anybody else, arter all ; — only they don't 
wear soger-close, like us. But did ye mind, — they 
straddle mighty nice bosses!" 

" That's a fact, Jo ! and the fellow that driv tliat 
big yaller mule-team, said that them 'ere Texyans 
got eighteen dollars a month !" 

''' Eigliteen dollars ! whew! wal, that's a heap of 
money, anney how!" 

" I say, dad !" now chimed in a voice I had not 
heard before, — "what wages do'ee think we'r goin' 
to git?" 

"Dunno, Sam ! but I b'lieve about seven dollars 
a month, and the vittles thrown in." 

"0, h — 1!" replied Sam; — "a fellow mought a' 
done nigh as well as that down in the old piney- 
woods, a scraping, and totin' tarpentine." 

" I s'pose we mought, Sam ; — but you know, son- 
ney, there's no glory to be had thar." 

" Damn the glory ! I say, dad ; — I goes in for the 
dollars, — the- real shiners, — I does! Damn green, 
w^e wos, to come 'way out to this h — 1 of a place to 
be shot at by Injuns and Mexekins ! For my part, 
ole boss, I. only wish I wos once more on t'other 
side o' Tar river. I've seen glory enough already, 
in this damned thorny country, — I have! Why! 
yer can't put yer foot down without stickin' a 


blasted thorn through it ; — it's all thorny. Every 
tree IVe seed yet has thorns on it ; — e¥en the dod- 
ratted frogs and grasshoppers have horns ; — and it's 
the thornyest, hornyest country on airtli ! — damn it, 
I say." 

I had heard enough to excite my curiosity to 
know who these men were ; so, throwing the bridle 
of my horse over a cactus plant, I stepped out to 
the road to reconnoitre. 

From some words they dropped, however, I had 
no doubt of the State that had the honor to be rep- 
resented by them. 

As I stepped into the dusty wagon-track, I encoun- 
tered three as strange objects as ever met my gaze. 
They were an old man, and two long-legged, long- 
armed, scrawny, old-looJcing boys ! The three figures 
were accoutred alike, in bran new suits of soldiers' 
fatigue uniforms ; — but more unsoldier-like objects 
I never beheld. 

The old man's overalls, wdiich were a world too 
wide and too long for his ^dnny corpus, were rolled 
up above his bare, tan-colored knees, while the 
jacket came below the hips, and was buttoned up 
full in front, throwing the old fellow's hea^ back at 
a fearful angle, with his sharp, bony chin pointing 
to the zenith. His blue fatigue-cap hung low down 
on his little bottle-shaped head, and rested by its 


rim on a huge pair of leathery ears, which stood out 
in most grotesque relief from his head. The cap, 
like the rest of his dress, was intended for a much 
larger man, and fitted to his caput like a corn-basket 
to the top of a horse-post. Upon the whole, he re- 
minded me of the old plantation song about — 

''A bull-frog dressed in soldier's clothes." 

The dresses of the boys were as much too scant 
for them as the old man's was too large. Their 
scrawny extremities protruded from them in un- 
gainly contortions, and bore no small resemblance 
to the "lite-wood knots" of their native " piney- 

As I moved out into the road, these men made a 
sudden halt, and, throwing their bright new regula- 
tion muskets into a clubbing position, demanded, in 
an excited tone, 

" Who he you?'' 

" A friend," I replie^I, bursting into an uncon- 
trollable fit of laughter, at the truly comical figures 
before me. " Put down your guns, men, I won't 
hurt you." 

" Wal! now I'm darned ef I didn't take ye for a 
bloody Mexekin, and no mistake !" said one of the 


*' Mister! du you belong to that long string of 
waggins that's jest driv by?" 

I replied that I was accompanying the train. 

•' Wal, now, then, stranger, I reckin yer mought 
tell lis ef it's a fact that all these 'ere w^aggins and 
mules belong to Gineral Taylor ?" 

I assured them most seriously that such was the 

" And does he buy all the vittles, and pay the 
wages of all the sogers he keeps'?" 

" Most assuredly ?" I replied. 

" And does he own all them 'ere steamboats we 
seed on the Ryo Gran ?" 

" Of course, he does ; he owns them all." 

" Wal ! all I've got to say about it, then, boys," 
exclaimed the old man, — throwing up his huge, 
bony hands, and giving his cap a tilt upon the back 
of his little head, — " all I've got to say about it, 
is, — he is the goldarndest richest ole coon I ever 
hearn tell ov, — that's all ! Kurnul Johnsin' 'way 
dow^n on Tar river, with all his sloop-loads of tar, 
tarpentine, and shingles, can't hold a light 'ud knot 
to him, — he can't!" 

"Yes, dad, — and that an't all, either ; — they du 
say, that tfie ole Gineral has got one ov the biggest 
plantations on all the Marsissippi ; with hundreds 
and thousands ov niggers to boot ; and the way the 


kinkies tumble out the sugar, and cotton, and 
sich, — is a sin to ole David Crocket!" 

Being appealed to, I also corroborated this last 

"And now," said I, "having given you all the 
information you have required, will you be so kind, 
gentlemen, as to tell me where you are from?" 

"0! we're from ole Varginny; — but that whole 
sward of fellows coming yander, ihe^fre from Nor 
Carline, — close on the Varginny linc.^^ 

This was precisely the answer I expected to get 
for I have yet to see the North Carolinian from the 
" piney-woods," who does not hail from "Var- 
ginny," or " close upon the Varginny line." They 
are as rare as Virginians, who are not members of 
the first families." 

By this time, the main body of this new regiment 
of " during-the-war men" came straggling up. So, 
bidding my piney-woods friends good-by, and re- 
commending them to keep a sharp look-out for the 
bloody MexeJcmsj I returned to my horse, and re- 
mounting, soon rejoined the train. 


Our Line of Occupation. — Attempts to introduce Steam on the Rio 
Grande. — Former Mode of Navigating that River. — The People 
Two Hundred Years Behind the Age. — Volunteers Introduce the 
Loom and Spinning-Wheel. — The Mexican Plough. — The Passage 
of a Steamboat, an Event. — How Regarded by the Natives. — 
Camargo the Head of Navigation. — The Road from Camargo to 
Monterey. — Mier. — Punta Aguda Burnt by Colonel Curtiss. — The 
March of the 3rd Ohio Regiment. — Chicharrones. — The Death of 
Lieutenant Miller. — Cerralvo. — Agua Dulcis. — Mountain Scenery. 
—Sunrise among the Mountains. — The March. — Ramos. — Marin. — 
Rio Salinas. — Agua Frio. — El Bosque de Santo Domingo. 

The line of operations, occupied by the forces 
under the command of General Taylor, extended 
from the Gulf coast, to a point some sixty miles 
beyond the dUtj of Saltillo ; — including a distance of 
something like one hundred and thirty-five leagues. 
Of this distance, about fifty leagues was upon the 
navigable waters of the Rio Grande, which were 
plied by light-draught steamboats. 

Previous to the war, several attempts had been 
made to introduce steamers upon this river ; — but 
the repugnance of the natives to everything like 
improvements or innovations, upon the old Adamic 


plan of things, interfered to prevent the adoption of 
these modern conveniences. Therefore, np to this 
period, the navigation of this rapid stream was con- 
fined only to a few canoes and batteaus, laden with 
hides or corn, from the towns of Camargo and Ray- 
nosa, and the ranchos along its fertile banks ; — 
while the transportation of goods from Matamoras, 
the great commercial mart of Eastern Mexico, was 
done on the backs of mules and donkeys ; with this 
noble river flowing, for many leagues, parallel w4th 
the century-trodden mule-paths. 

When we had obtained a foothold in the country, 
we found ourselves among a people, two hundred 
years, at least, behind the age, in the common arts 
and conveniences of life. Even a spinning-wheel, 
or a hand-loom, w^as an implement unknown to 
them ; — and when the volunteers, as was often the 
case, had manufactured these instruments, with such 
rude tools as were to be found in the camp, and 
initiated the women into the use of them, — they 
were looked upon, by these simple people, as the 
w^onder and perfection of mechanical art. Although 
quick to learn, and ready to acquire the uses of un- 
complicated machinery, when they were furnished 
to them, they were destitute of the simplest form of 
labor-saving instruments. 

The plough of the Mexican peasant is the same 


rade implement that was used by his Indian ances- 
tor, centuries before. It is, simply, a crooked stick — 
produced and finished to the hand of the husband- 
man by nature. Sometimes, however, this primitive 
ploughismet witli under an improved form, — wliich 
is the addition of a buffalo's horn upon its wooden 
point. Its uses are nothing more than to scratch 
up, in a very imperfect manner, the surface of the 
prolific soil. 

The passage of a steamboat was an event which, 
with a few experimental exceptions, had not occurred 
since Colonel Stephen F. Austin, the first American 
pioneer of Texas, had attempted, many years before, 
to introduce one upon the w^aters of the Rio Grande, 
— till our Government had purchased and chartered 
a number of worn-out, rickety Mississippi craft, and 
sent them puffing and snorting up this stream, to 
transport troops and munitions of war. 

These novel affairs were regarded with wonder 
and astonishment by the natives, who would gather 
along the shore for leagues, from the interior, to 
witness their passage. Many of them actually be- 
lieved them to be living, breathing monsters — the 
very all-devouring cannibals of whom their priests 
had warned them. 

In a few months, new and respectable-looking 

steamers, built expressly for this river, were churn- 


ing its turbid waters; and, at the close of the war, 
private enterprise was extensively engaged in the 
navigation of the "mad river of the north." 

Camargo,* near the mouth of the San Juan, which 
debouches into the Kio Grande, was, at this period, 
the supposed head of navigation. But, since then, 
boats have proceeded much further up the stream ; 
— indeed, with some little improvements of the 
channel, this river might be navigable for many 

The road from Camargo towards Monterey passes 
through a variety of interesting scenery. For the 
first sixty miles it runs over a fertile plain, where 
comfortable and picturesque villages and ranches 
enliven the way. Thick growths of chaparral, and, 

* It was at tills place that General Pillow immortalized his name, 
by originating a new style of military engineering. It was the 
planning, and actual building, of a fortification, with the ditch inside 
the breast-works, and posts and chains, from the Quartermaster's stores, 
sti'etched around the works, where less enlightened engineers would 
have dug the ditch ! Colonel May one afternoon amused himself by 
breasting his horse against this formidable defense, and breaking up 
a number of most excellent trace-chains, which were intended to do 
service in the trains. 

Pillow was one among a number of militia generals, some of whom 
were promoted '' Georgia Majors," who had been forced upon the 
army ; — and were designated as " PoWs j^ets.''^ They were, most of 
them, small-fry politicians, who had been paid off, by the administra- 
tion, with commissions they disgraced. 

This was the same General Pillow who afterwards essayed to steal 
the laurels from the brow of the veteran hero, Scott. 


in some places, timber of considerable size, cover the 
unoccupied country. 

About ten leagues from Camargo, we arrive at the 
pleasant and cleanly little town of Mier ; a place 
made famous as the scene of the brave exploits of a 
small party of Texians, who, defeating a vastly 
superior force of Mexican artillerists, gained pos- 
session of the place, and held it — till, induced by 
false representations, they were betrayed into the 
power of the enemy ; and afterwards w^ere forced to 
draw lots ; and every tenth man was shot down, in 
cold-blood, by the treacherous Mexicans. 

Leaving Mier, we next encamp at Punta Aguda. 
This place, when we first visited it, contained a 
population of some fifteen hundred rancheros, who 
furnished us with a plentiful supply of fresh provi- 
sions, and were very friendly disposed towards us. 

A few months after, on the passage of Colonel 
Curtiss, of the 3rd Ohioans, this pretty village 
was laid in ashes, in retaliation for some depredations 
which had been committed upon some of our trains, 
while on the road; and of which, there is no doubt, 
these people were entirely innocent. 

The march of that regiment, all the way to Mon- 
terey, w^as marked with devastated fields, and the 
smoking ruins of villages and ranchos, where the 
advancing columns of our army had met with shelter 


and friendly receptions. Such are tlie horrors of 
war: the innocent and friendly peasantry are often- 
est made to suffer its penalties. These unwarrant- 
able acts of cruelty were severely censured by 
General Taylor, w^ho immediately issued orders, for- 
bidding a repetition of them. 

The next usual encamping ground, on the upward 
march, after leaving Punta Aguda, is the spot wdiere 
stood, when we first rested here, the little randiita of 
Chicharrones. Not an adobe remained upon another 
of its walls, after the passage of our modern Attila. 

There, under a rude cairn, smoulder the bones of 
the brave Lieutenant C. D. Miller, of the 2nd Ohio- 
ans. He lies upon the spot where he fell by the 
assassin shot of a guerrilla. A party of Americans, 
soon after passing, recognized the body, and gave it 
burial ; and erected a pile of stones upon the grave, 
to protect it from the jackals. 

The next day's march brings us to Cerralvo ; 
where the scenery assumes an entirely new charac- 
ter. From this point, the road takes a wide circuit 
from the direct line, to avoid the first advanced 
spurs of the Sierra Madre ; and brings us, at an early 
hour, to encamp at the rancho of Agua Dulcis, — 
appropriately so named, from the spring of delicious 
water, which tempts the weary soldier to rest by its 


The march for the following day passes along a 
broken valley, walled in on either hand by craggy 
mountains, which rear their bare granitic pinnacles 
to the skies; their castellated spires, stained and 
scarred by the storms of ages, tower in grand sub- 
limity among the clouds. 

Here, among the mountains, the sunrise scene 
which greets the traveler early abroad, is of itself 
worth a journey to witness. It w^ere useless to 
attempt a description of it, — for words cannot con- 
vey an adequate idea of its surpassing grandeur and 

With reluctance we leave our pleasant camping- 
place, where all night long we have been lulled to 
dreamy slumbers, by the ceaseless music of the 
mountain stream, as it sings its w^ay along over the 
polished pebbles which line its bottom ;— and while 
yet the deep shadows linger upon the landscape, 
we mount, and resume the march before us. The 
stars burn clear above us, and the mists rest upon 
the mountain slopes; but ere we have proceeded 
far, — 

" The day comes on apace, 
The clouds roll up in gold and amber flakes, 
And all the stars grow dim. The morning breaks. 
It breo^ks— it comes — the misty shadows fly ; 
A rosy radiance gleams along the sky ; 
The mountain-tops reflect it calm and clear,— 
The plain is yet in shade, but day is near." 


The sun struggles through the clouds, which still 
slumber among the peaks, and lights up the horizon 
with all the brilliant and beautiful hues of nature. 
The colors of the rainbow, and the ever-varying, 
changing tints of pearl and amethyst, fade and die in 
contrast with this gorgeous lighting up of the clouds 
of early morning among the mountains of Mexico. 

" And jocund day, 

Upon the mountain tops, sits gaily dressed." 

All day our route lies between mountain ridges, 
which in some places jut up upon the path, or 
overhang it with rugged and frowning cliffs; then 
receding, leave a wdde and fertile valley, intersected 
by rushing water-courses ; and richly clothed with 
forests of palmettos, mesquits, and cacti ; then the 
road ascends the face of an abrupt hill, where for 
some distance it follows along upon its crest, and 
again descends to the plain ; — thus, at every mile 
of the march, presenting a new feature of the land- 
scape, till, as the setting sun empurples the western 
skies, and gilds with his farewell rays the lofty 
spires, we come to a halt, and encamp for the night, 
by the rocky stream of Papa Grallios. 

The next day, passing by the ruins of what, before 
the passage of the Vandal colonel, w^as the beautiful 
village of Ramos, and where, for the first time, the 


enemy showed himself on the advance of General 
Taylor upon Monterey, we come to the little city 
of Marin. But if too early to encamp at this place, 
we can proceed on to the Kio Salinas. If still the 
sun is two hours above the mountains, we have 
time to reach Agua Frio ; and, encamping by its 
purer waters, obtain among the friendly villagers a 
good supper of chile con came and tortillas ; and, if 
we choose, may spread our blankets upon cowhides 
under the shelter of palm-thatched cottages. We 
have now before us, for to-morrow, six leagues over 
a good road, and frequent water, which brings us to 
El Bosque de Santo Domingo, — the headquarter camp 
of our brave old commander ; — from whence, to the 
city of Monterey, it is but a pleasant little ride of 
less than one and a half leagues. 


An Old Adage. — The Soldier, and other Components of an Army.— 
Gamblers. — Their Implements and Expedients. — Sporting Swell 
turns Teamster. — He proceeds to Business. — A Scene in Camp. — 
The Gamblers sometimes check-mated.— The Story of Little Red.— 
Sergeant K.— The Game of Monte. — The Sergeant in Luck.— One 
more Antie. — Free "Whisky.— The Luck takes a Turn. — "Cleaned 
out." — Arrive at Camargo. — The Sergeant has the Damps. — The 
Pledge. — The Surprise. — The Farewell. 

The old, homely adage— "It takes all sorts of 
people to make a world" — may, with very little 
alteration, be applied to the composition of an 
army in the field ; — for, truly, it takes many vari- 
eties of men, to make up its complete organization. 

The soldier, — he who carries a knapsack strapped 
to his back, like Pilgrim's load of sin ; and the mus- 
ket upon his shoulder, with the cotton haversack — 
the receptacle of the day's scanty fare — under the 
left arm ; — who, in regular routine, takes his turn 
at guard-mounting, and fatigue duty; — w^ho has 
neither will nor soul of his own, but must yield in 
slavish obedience to the tyrant, Discipline ; — whose 
law is the whim or caprice of some petty upstart 


officer ; — who, at the word of command, must un- 
flinchingly bare his breast to the iron storm of the 
battle, and pour out his life-ljlood without a mur- 
mur : — this man is but one ingredient that goes to 
make up the unit of an army. 

There are the numerous employes of the quar- 
termaster and commissary departments, — the arti- 
sans, the teamsters and mule-drivers ; the clerks, 
factotums, and servants ; the contractors, speculat- 
ors, and letter-writers ; as well -as the blacklegs, 
whisky-sellers and pickpockets, with their coad- 
jutors, the courtezans of the camp; — all these 
elements form important components of the great 

The last-named gentry, in our army, did not con- 
fine their operations to the garrisoned towns, and 
the permanent camps ; but were frequently found 
accompanying the trains, as they passed to and 
from our depots, — often in the capacity of team- 

In some secret corner of their wagons, the monte- 

bank, the faro-box, and the roulette-cloth, with its 

gilded figures and emblazoned eagle, the keno-urn, 

or the wheel of fortune, were snugly stowed away, 

side by side with the whisky-keg ; — to be placed 

in tempting array upon the tail-boards of their 

wagons on arriving at the first camping-ground for 


the night. These men could accommodate them- 
selves to any change of circumstances, or any ostensi- 
ble occupations, in order to carry on their game of 
plucking the poor soldier. 

One would hardly recognize in the unkemped, 
coarsely dressed, and dirt-and-tar-begrimed team- 
ster, mounted on the nigh mule of the rear span, 
and vociferously yelling to the little leader, as he 
springs to the ascent of the hill, — the over-dressed 
and Frenchified swell, he had observed dealing the 
cards at the richly-laden monte-table of the " Dos 
Amigos," the evening previous. Yet it is the same 
man. The long, and, in spite of the dirt, which 
would disguise them, the delicate and supple fingers 
of the dealer are now all that remain, by which he 
may be identified. 

Yesterday, the troops were paid off a long-due 
installment, and, as a large escort accompanies the 
train, with the money in their pockets, our "pro- 
fessional gentleman" dons his teamster's suit, and 
presents himself at the office of the quartermaster 
for a "berth." His partners attend to "business" 
in the town and at the camp, while he follows, to 
attend to their mutual interest on the road. 

At night, after his team is stripped, watered, and 
fed, and his own supper of fried bacon and army- 
bread is hastily disposed of, — he prepares for busi- 


ness. First, his private corner is examined; — the 
whisky-keg is unrolled from the folds of blankets, 
which have protected it from the close inspection 
of the wagon-master, and deposited in some conve- 
nient place ; as it is to perform an important fmic- 
tion during the performances of the night. Then, 
if the night is calm, two empty porter-bottles are 
called into requisition, to hold each a stump of a 
sperm candle. These are placed upon the ground, 
under the cover of some friendly clump of bushes, 
which would hide the light from that part of the 
camp occupied by the commanding officer of the 
escort. The tail-board of the wagon is now un- 
hinged, and laid upon the ground between the 
lights ; — a pack of Spanish cards, prepared before- 
hand, is placed upon the board, in little piles sym- 
metrically arranged, with "caM/o," "7e?/," "coro7i<2," 
and " esixida'^ uppermost. The dealer, seating him- 
self, with his legs doubled under him, and a ban- 
danna handkerchief spread before him, on which is 
piled, in tempting array, his golden " bank," — now 
makes proclamation of — "/ree ivhisJcy to any gen- 
tleman ivho feels disi^osed to risk a quarter on a 
game, at ivJuch any one may easily malie a for- 

Men, whose money weighs heavily in their pock- 
ets, and whose dusty palates long for the whisky, 


soon gather around the gambler. Down goes the 
money on the cards, and the whisky down the 
thirsty throats. 

As the fiery " rotgut" inflames the brain, the 
betters become more reckless ; and their " anties" 
increase from Cjuarters, to halves, and dollars. The 
dealer understands his business ; — he is a good judge 
of human nature, and knows who to " clean out" at 
once, — and so dismiss half wild with the wretched 
liquor and his losses ; — and who to amuse, and play 
with, as the cat toys with her little captive before 
she swallows him. The game vacillates and vibrates 
up and down the scale of luck ; — the better now 
losing, now winning, now gaining stake after stake. 
The dealer damns the cards, swears that fortune is 
against him, and calls for a new deal to change the 
luck. The new deal is made, and still the lucky 
better rakes down the silver. Emboldened by suc- 
cess, he now ventures an eagle. The cool, unex- 
citable gambler scarcely condescends to notice the 
gold; but, as luck ivo^ild have it, it slips into the 
bank. There was no cheating — that the better 
could observe ; — it was all fair, — only a turn of luck. 
He tries it again ; and again he loses ; and still loses, 
with an occasional turn in his favor. By this time, 
the game, with the help of the free whisky, be- 
comes exciting; the better will make or break; 


down goes his entire pile on "kavallo;" the dealer 
makes a careless slang remark, while a close observer 
might detect a half-expressed smile of exultation 
on his skinny lips ; and up comes the " woman ;" — 
the soldier is " cleaned out !" Cursing his luclc, and 
more than half-crazed with the excitement of the 
liquor and the play, he seeks his blanket, from 
which he is soon aroused by the shrill, sleep-ban- 
ishing notes of the reveille. 

Sometimes, however, these fellows find their 
match, — Greek meets Greek, — and, with all their 
cunning in the deal, the tables are turned upon 
them; — the " bank is burst," — they are ''cleaned 
out." All who took part in the campaign on our 
line, are familiar with the story of "Little Ked, the 
lucky Teamster," as he w^as called in the train. 
The story is a good one, and I will relate it. 

Little Eed had belonged to some volunteer regi- 
ment, whose term of service expiring, had returned 
home. But he chose to remain with the army ; and 
as quarter-master's men were in demand, and good 
pay was offered, he applied to a wagon-master and 
obtained the place of a teamster in a train. He 
soon attracted attention throughout the train, by 
his diminutive form, w^hich was always enveloped 
in a red flannel shirt, much too large for him, and 
by the cleanly and sleek condition of his mules. It 


was here he obtained the cognomen by which he 
was known along the line, and even on the muster 
rolls of the head wagon-master. 

Little Red had amused himself by observing the 
tricks of the gamblers, and occasionally trying his 
hand, till he at length fancied he had hit upon a 
scheme, by which he could not only play a good 
hand himself, but, by following up his system, might 
be able to break the bank. He chose to try his 
plan, at first with the Mexican gamblers, as Yankee 
shrewdness could readily cope with Mexican kna- 
very. He was successful, and won largely. Having 
now a good "bank" of his own, he essayed the 
more skillful American gamblers, and w^ith equal 
success. He liad now won several thousand dollars. 

One night, while betting at monte, at the " Dos 
Amigos," his Mexican lady-love, — for Little Red, as 
fortune had favored him, was inclined to indulge in 
the luxury of an amante, — entered the saloon, and, 
gently tapping him on the cheek, with her fan, 
motioned him to a private interview ; when she 
informed him of an attempt that would be made, by 
a party of JMexicans, to murder and rob him, that 
night, as he should leave the saloon, on his way to 
her house. He treated the matter lightly, but 
promised to be on his guard. 

During the evening his usual good fortune at- 


tended him ; and when he left the house, it was with 
his pockets heavy with the gold of the dealer's bank. 

He had nearly reached the residence of his amante. 
w^iich was not far from the Puente de la Virgeii, 
w^ien he was suddenly confronted by half a dozen 
Mexican desperadoes, with their drawn knives gleam- 
ing in the moonlight. Little Red was prepared for 
them, and drawing a revolver from under his shirt, 
braced himself against the wall, and began to lay 
the greasers about him. He shot three dead upon 
the spot, and winged two others. The sixth cut- 
throat, finding the American more than his match, 
w^as glad to make his escape unhurt. 

The affair w^as noised over the city, on the follow- 
in2f morninsf. 

Colonel E. was in command of the city at that 
time, and had an unlimited authority in matters of 
police, and the dispensation of laws of his own 
creation. He w^as so desirous to do justice to the 
Mexicans, that he often over-reached the point, 
and was actually guilty of acts of great injustice to 
his own countrymen. 

The gallant defense which Little Red had made, 
and which w^as deserving of much commendation, 
w^as represented to the officer, by the friends and 
comrades of the assassins, as a w^iolesale and unpro- 
voked murder. 


The young man was immediately arrested ; and, 
without being permitted to give a correct explana- 
tion of the affair, was loaded with heavy irons, and 
dispatched to the camp, — to accompany a train of 
wagons, which was to leave next day for Camargo ; 
from whence, he was ordered to be shipped to 
New Orleans. This was the mode of disposing of 
such persons as became repugnant to the temporary 
and tyrannous commandants of the town. 

Little Red begged for the privilege of returning 
to the house of the Mexican woman, to whose 
keeping every cent of his money had been intrusted. 
Tins reasonable request was refused, — and, without 
a dime in his pocket, he was hurried out of the 

On arriving at New Orleans, his irons were 
knocked off, and he was turned out on the levee, 
entirely destitute; with not even the means of ob- 
taining a breakfast. 

Wandering thoughtfully along the levee. Little 
Red observed a vessel loading for the Rio Grande. 
He went on board, and telling his story to the cap- 
tain, solicited the favor of working his passage for 
the voyage. The captain, being a genuine, warm- 
hearted sailor, was struck with the ingenuousness 
of the young man, and the evident injustice of his 
treatment ; — he not only offered him a free passage, 


but advanced him money to purchase a respectable 
suit of clothes, and invited him to make the vessel 
his home while she remained in port. After arriv- 
ing at Matamoras, the captain further furnished him 
with the means to reach Camargo ; from whence, he 
reached Monterey, w4th a returning train ; having 
been absent some four weeks. In the mean time, 
a change had occurred in the administration of jus- 
tice in the city, and he could return unmolested. 

The most remarkable part of the story, however, 
is yet to be told. Little Red lost no time in finding 
the residence of his Mexican friend, — wdio received 
him joyfully. She was a poor girl, in most indigent 
circumstances; and had not yet consoled herself 
with a new lover. Yet she had not touched a claco 
of the fifteen thousand dollars, which he had in- 
trusted to her keeping ! but returned the bag of 
gold, in precisely the same condition she had buried 
it, on the morning of his arrest. Little Red gener- 
ously rewarded the faithful custodian of his treasure, 
by pressing upon her acceptance one-third of his 
winnings; — with a portion of which, he purchased 
her a comfortable home in San Francisco, — and 
eschewing gambling for the future, returned, soon 
after, to his friends, somewhere in Tennessee. 

On one occasion, I w^as accompanying a train 
escort, and we had encamped at the stream of Papa 


Gallios. There was, along with us, Sergeant K., 
of the 16th regiment, one of the new levies. The 
Sergeant had served with the 1st Ohio regiment, 
and was at the taking of Monterey. He had re- 
turned home, and afterwards enlisted in the new 
regiment, — and was now again on his return home, 
on a sick furlough. Being, as he expressed it, but 
a passenger, and without a mess, I had invited him 
to join with me, and share my tent. 

As usual, a monte-dealer had opened his bank, 
and was calling upon the votaries of fortune, to 
sacrifice at her shrine. 

The Sergeant, observing that, as he had not 
money enough to take him home, he would try his 
luck at the game. Accordingly, he left me, and 
wended his way towards the circle, which had 
gathered around the gambler. I turned into my 
blankets, and soon forgot all things about me, in 
pleasant dreams of home. 

About midnight the sergeant returned with his 
handkerchief filled with gold ; I should think from 
its weight, he had over a thousand dollars. 

"Here doctor!" said he; "I am in luck to- 
night ; I've almost burst up that fellow's bank !" 

"How much have you won?" I asked care- 
lessly, — for, in fact, I was too sleepy to take much 
interest in his good luck. 


" I don't know exactly ; — but as he had about 
fifteen hundred dollars in his bank, and the other 
boys were not betting much, — and there is but a 
precious little of it left, I should think I've about 
got the fellow's pile ! By heavens ! — I'll return, 
and make a finish of him !" 

" But sergeant ! come back a moment, — a word 
with you before you go — " 

" Well ! what is it !— Talk fast," said he. " He's 
playing against luck, and if I don't get back soon, 
the boys will have used him up. One or two antics 
more, and I'll not leave a dollar in his bank." 

I perceived that the free whisky of the gambler 
was doing its work on the brain of the sergeant ; and, 
knowinsr that the knave would soon have the advan- 


tage of him, and carry the good luck over to the 
bank, I persuaded him to deposit a portion of his 
winnings with me, as he would not require a very 
heavy stake to finish the game, now so near its 

" By Jove ! You're right, old fellow !" said he — 
"help yourself; — but don't be greedy, — leave me 
enough to finish him up genteelly." 

He laid the handkerchief again upon my blanket, — 
and, gathering up several handsful of the heaviest 
pieces, I slipped them under my bedding. It was 
too dark for him to observe how frequently my 


hands returned to the charge ; — but at last, grow- 
hig impatient, he snatched up what remained, and 
returned to the work. 

But it seemed that in his brief absence, the fickle 
goddess had deserted her friends of the earlier hours 
of the night, and had now gone over to the dealer. 
His pile had evidently increased. 

"I go an eagle on the * corona' " cried the ser- 
geant, — as he threw the gold piece on the pile of 
papers that picture represented, and watched the 
run of the cards. The espada won, and the ten 
dollars were added to the bank. 

" AVell, then ; here's two eagles more on the 
horse !" But the horse, too, had become unlucky, 
and carried the gold to the wrong side of the board. 
Again and again the sergeant sees his gold pieces 
swallowed up in the all-devouring bank. 

A fresh application to the free drink, and he, 
determined to recover the ground he has lost, 
now ventures ten eagles on a card. The banker 
coolly shuffles ofi his papers, — his own lucky 
card turns up, and he gathers the money to his own 

So the game continued, till the sergeant had lost 
the last piece I had left in his handkerchief. Again 
he returned to me, much excited, and demanded the 
whole of the money I had retained. He was confi- 

" CLEANED OUT." 333 

dent lie could yet break the bank. I saw it was use- 
less to endeavor to dissuade him from further ven- 
tures against the cunning gambler ; he was now in 
for it, and nothing short of the loss of the last cent 
he possessed would recall him to reason. I, there- 
fore, pretended to hand over to him the w^hole of 
what remained of his money ; but really reserving 
more than the half of it. 

As the guards were being relieved for the last 
time in the morning, the sergeant returned, and en- 
tering the tent, awoke me with the request for the 
loan of an eao-le or so. 


"Hillo! is that you, sergeant?" 

" Yes !" said he, — in a half serious, half comical 
tone of voice — " what is left of me, — can't you lend 
me a few antics against that damned monte-dealer ?" 

" What, my dear fellow ! has the luck gone the 
wrong way, at last?" 

"Yes! yes! — That monte-fellow is the very 
devil for luck : — he has cleaned me out complete- 
ly — not even left me a dime for morning bitters. 
I am not alone, however ; — he has whipped out 
the crowd. Why ! would you believe it, — that 
fellow has won over three thousand dollars to- 


I consoled the poor fellow, with the assurance 
that I might have told him as much ; — and showed 


him the folly of not remaining content with what he 
had won in the early part of the night. 

" But come, now, — a truce to preaching ; — lend 
me ten dollars." 

"No, Sergeant, you have lost enough already; 
and I will not loan you a cent. Lie down, and get 
a nap ; — 'tis almost reveille time." 

" Well, then, here goes for it ;" and, stretching 
himself upon the blankets, he w^as soon snoring like 
a high-2:)ressure steamboat. 

On our arrival at Camargo, we found the steam- 
boat " Kough and Keady" fired up, and ready to 
start down the river to Matamoras. My friend, the 
Sergeant, hastened to the office of the quarter- 
master, and obtained his transportation papers ; and, 
on his return, came to bid me good-by, with a very 
lugubrious expression of countenance. 

"Doctor!" said he, " it's likely I may never see 
you again ; — but w^ould it be too great a favor to ask 
of an old friend. — the loan — of — say — five — dol-lars, 
or so ? It's a long w^ay between here and Ohio, — 
and you know I've not the first red cent for the 
— extras !" 

"Well, Sergeant," said I, "promise me, upon the 
honor of a soldier, that you will not bet a dollar of 
it upon monte, or any other game, and I will advance 
you money enough to take you home like a gentle- 


man, and something handsome left when you get 

" I'll promise you anything you ask, my friend," 
said he, grasping my hand ; " but I will be grateful 
for a small amount; five or ten dollars is all I will 

" But do I understand you to accede to my 
terms ?" 

" Yes, yes ! doctor ; I promise, upon the honor of 
a gentleman, — not only, not to bet on a card, during 
my voyage home, but never again to indulge in the 
vicious and ungentlemanly practice — so help me — 

"Enough said. Sergeant! — here, hold out your 
hands, — both of them, — so, there ;" — and I pro- 
ceeded to count out leisurely, piece after piece, the 
gold I had pocketed of his winnings, — till I had 
piled upon his outstretched pahns over six hundred 

He stood lost in amazement, till I had counted 
out the last eagle ; — then, dropping his hands, and 
scattering a golden shower of doubloons, eagles, and 
double eagles, upon the ground at our feet, refused 
to accept a single dollar, till I had explained the 
mystery. When I at last bade him farewell, he was 
in comfortable possession of one of the best state- 
rooms of the " Rough and Ready." 


I have never since met the Sergeant ; — but, if this 
book should chance to meet his eye, he will, no 
doubt, smile to see himself " in print," and pardon 
a friend of the olden times for the liberty he has 
taken with him. 


The Night call on the Guerrillas. — The Mexicans avoid the "Watering- 
places. — A hard Circumstance. — Mexicans carry their Water with 
them. — Accompanying the Train. — The Heat and Dust. — Ride 
ahead.— The Halt.— No Supper.— The Night Ride.— Old Cam- 
paigners.— Colonel Louis P. Cook. — Mr. Clemens. — Close upon a 
Mexican Camp. — The Consultation. — The Plan adopted. — The 
Challenge. — ^' Tejanos P^ —HhQ Alarm. — The Rush through the 
Camp. — Arrive at Punta Aguda. — The Ride continued. — The Mys- 
tery. — Its Explanation. — A new Fact. — The Morning. — A beautiful 
Landscape. — The Turkey-call. — Its Effects. — Bagging the Game. 
—The Bells of Mier. 

The Mexican cavalry forces, of Urrea's and 
Canales' commands, as well as the guerrillas, in 
passing over the main-traveled thoroughfares along 
our line, most piously avoided the streams and 
water-holes, when bivouacking for the night. 

They had, on a number of occasions, paid some- 
what dearly for occupying those convenient halting- 
places, which we had appropriated to our own use. 

When comfortably bestowing themselves by their 

camp-fires for the night, after a hard day's ride, 

their suppers simmering over the embers, making 

the air fragrant with their savory ingredients, and 
J o 


"whetting the keen edge of hunger;" — their horses 
stripped, and disposed of, amongst the tliickets; — 
and the cahii starlight night full of promises of kind 
repose ; — thus comfortably disposed, it was anything 
but agreeable, to be suddenly disturbed by the unan- 
nounced arrival of a company of Rangers, or some 
other party of Americanos, who unceremoniously 
claimed, not only the possession of the ground, but 
" of all the goods, chattels, and appurtenances there- 
unto attached," — as well as taking unwarrantable 
liberties with the persons of the occupants ! 

They had frequently been thus surprised ; — and 
therefore, for the future, being taught discretion by 
sad experience, they avoided altogether the water- 
ing-places along the road, — carrying their water 
along with them in skins ; and bivouacking on high 
ground, at a distance from the streams, were less 
liable to be intruded upon by their enemies. 

It was a sultry afternoon, and the progress of the 
train I was accompanying might be traced from the 
distant heights by the heavy columns of yellow 
dust, which ascended from it, as it poured along 
over the parched roads. We had left Cerralvo 
that morning, and proposed encamping at night at 

What with the heat of the day, and the inhaling 
of the impalpable dust, with which the air was 


loaded, we found it extremely un^Dleasant traveling 
in the crowded ranks of the escort. I, therefore, 
proposed to Colonel Louis P. Cook, of Texas, and 
one or two other gentlemen, to ride in advance, 
and reach the camping-ground before night ; and 
thus escape the dust and confusion of the train and 

We according started ahead, — a party of four of 
us; — and reached Chicharrones while the sun was 
yet some hours high. A train, which had pre- 
ceded us, had left the place the same morning; 
and we found an ample supply of provender, which 
it had left behind, and with which our horses were 
plentifully supplied. 

As for ourselves, we should have to fast till the 
arrival of the train ; and having nothing else to 
amuse ourselves with, after attending to the w^ants 
of our animals, w^e spread our blankets under the 
sheltering shade of the trees, and yielded to the 
gentle wooing of nature's sweet restorer. When 
we awoke, the broad disk of the sun was sinking 
behind the western sierras. The train had not come 
up ; nor could w^e hear the most distant sounds of 
its approach. Concluding that, forced by the heat 
of the day, it had halted at another resting-place, 
we began to become troubled about the prospect 
for supper, — as we had fasted since early morning. 


Our horses, however, had been well fed and re- 
freshed ; and the Colonel proposed that we should 
remount, and ride on as far as Punta Aguda, — 
about five leagues ahead, — where we might arrive 
at an early hour of the night, and obtain refresh- 
ments among the rancheros there. 

This arrangement was adopted ; so, saddling up, 
and strapping on our blankets, we sallied into the 
road again, for a night-ride to the next usual stage 
of train-travel. 

The night was clear, and comfortably cool ; and 
as the dew, falling heavily, partially laid the dust, 
we found the riding much pleasanter than it had 
been during the sultry hours of the day. 

Our horses, also, experienced the benefit of the 
change, and moved over the ground with elastic 
steps. There was no moon; but the stars gleamed 
brightly, and gave light enough to make the out- 
lines of surrounding objects distinctly visible. The 
road, most of the way, was over an unoccupied 
portion of the country, thickly covered with chap- 

The ride was made cheerful with conversation ; 
and as all my companions were " Old Texians," 
they had many amusing incidents of campaign-life 
to relate. Colonel Cook had been a prominent 
actor in the early history of the Republic. He had 


figured largely as an Indian fighter; and carried an 
evidence of his acquaintance with the Camanches, 
in .an ugly scar, made by an arrow-head, which, 
crashing through the cheek bone, had entered his 
right eye, tearing it completely from the socket. 

One of the other gentlemen, Mr. Clemens, had 
been an officer of the little navy of the State ; and, 
w^ith Commodore Moore, had taken part in the 
engagement with the Mexican squadron off Tam- 
pico ; — so that the night wore swiftly away, with 
the recital of the incidents of those times ; — and, 
ere we were aware of it, w^e had nearly accom- 
plished the five leagues to Punta Aguda. 

We were on the last league of the stretch, when 
the Colonel, who was giving me a detailed account 
of the affair of Groliad, suddenly checked his horse, 
and, giving utterance to a low, but expressive 
" shirr /" called us to a halt. 

" Gentlemen !" he exclaimed, " we are close upon 
a Mexican camp !" 

I saw neither the loom of a camp-fire, nor heard 
any sound of life, save our own low voices, and the 
breathings of our horses. The thickets were quiet 
and voiceless, as if the silence of death brooded 
over them. It was at that hour of the night, w4ien 
even the insect voices of the woods were hushed 
in repose. Other senses, therefore, than those of 


sight and hearing, were necessary, to detect the 
vicinity of the enemy. 

" They cannot be more than a quarter of a mile 
distant, if they are so far as that," said he. "Some 
one hold my horse, and while you remain hei«e, I 
will go ahead and reconnoitre." 

He left us, and proceeding cautiously and silently 
along the road, was soon lost to our sight, in the 
deep shadow of the chaparral. After an absence 
of a few minutes, he returned, with the intelligence 
that a large party of guerrillas had encamped imme- 
diately across the road, on the rising ground ahead, 
and had kindled their little, Indian-like fires, directly 
in the dust of the path. He had approached with- 
in a few yards of the sentinel; who, apparently, 
more than half asleep, was leaning, carelessly, in 
the forks of a low mesquit tree. 

"Well, Colonel! what do you propose? Shall 
we have to back out, and return? or, cannot we 
pick our way through the thickets, and get into the 
road again, ahead of these fellows ?" 

" No, gentlemen ! That is out of the question. 
Not even a cat, with the light of day, could pick her 
way through this wall of prickly pears, and thorny 
bushes; — much less could we force our horses 
through it, in this darkness !" 

"What, then, is your plan?" I inquired of the 


Colonel. " It, certainly, will never do to turn 
back, — and it is also out of the question to pass 
the niGfht where we are." 

"You are right, Doctor!" returned he. "We 
will charge through their camp, — yelling like a 
legion of devils ; and so, taking them by surprise, we 
may possibly cut our way through, Scot free. They 
will, no doubt, mistake us for an advanced picket of 
a large party ; and will be too intent upon their own 
safety, to pursue us. What say you, gentlemen, to 
my plan ?" 

" Agreed ! let us make a rush !" was the response 
which met the Colonel's proposition ; — and so, dis- 
mounting, we busied ourselves for a moment, in 
tightening our saddle-girths, and examining the 
condition of our lire-arms. The Colonel had a 
fowling-piece, and he now dropped, into each tube 
of it, a bullet, in addition to its ordinary charge of 

All now being ready, we remounted, and rode 
slowly along, till we found we had excited the at- 
tention of the sentinel. The " click" of his carbine- 
lock fell distinctly on our ears, — followed by the 
short, abrupt challenge : 

" Quieji vive?^'' 

'' Soldados!'' 

" Quien soldados P''^ 


^^Tejanos! Alerta,ladro?ies!^^* fiercely roared out 
the Colonel ; — and striking his rowels deeply into 
the flanks of his horse, and yelling like a wild Ca- 
manche, he led the way through the midst of the 
half awake and terrified guerrillas. The sentinel 
was so completely dumfounded by our sudden 
assault, that we had passed him some distance, be- 
fore he recovered himself sufiiciently to give the 

Yelling at the top of our lungs, we dashed along 
the road, — scattering the fire-brands beneath the 
feet of our plunging animals, — upsetting cooking 
utensils, — bursting water-skins, — tramphng over 
the prostrate forms of the sleepers, — knocking 
down, or leaping over those who were endeavoring 
to spring to their arms, — discharging our revolvers 
right and left, — and, altogether, creating a most 
astounding excitement throughout the astonished 
camp ! On we spurred, like a fresh arrival from 
Pandemonium ; — shouting back to some imaginary 
host following in our wake; — and making the night 
hideous by our unearthly noises ; — the very chap- 
arral was startled by the unusual sounds. 

The guerrillas, taken completely by surprise, and 
looking for the onslaught of a fresh charge, from 

* " Texians ! Look out, you thieves !'- 


the direction we had come, paid but little regard 
to us, after we had passed their camp ; — and but a 
few hasty and badly-aimed shots were sent after 
us, as we descended the hill, and left them in our 

We now soon arrived at the ruined ranclio of 
Punta Aguda, among whose falling and fire-stained 
walls still remained one or two families of its for- 
mer occupants, with whom we had intended to 
stop for rest and refreshment. But we had aroused 
a hornet's nest, — and prudence required that we 
should keep the road. It w^as a long stretch to 
Mier ; but w^e determined to push on to that place, 
where we could await the arrival of the train, and 
give our over-ridden animals time to recover from 
the night's work. 

It was still a matter of mystery to me, by what 
means the Texian Colonel had discovered our prox- 
imity to the camp of the guerrillas, and, riding up to 
his side, I asked for an explanation. 

" I smelt them /" said he. 

"You mean, I presume, that you scented the 
smoke of their fires, or their cookery." 

" No !" he replied. " I detected the peculiar scent 

of the Mexicans, — in the same way that experience 

has taught me to know the vicinity of the Camanche 

Indian. It is a faculty I have acquired, — perhaps, 


as a dog acquires the habit of following the game 
by his nose ; — or, as any Texian boy readily knows, 
when he is approaching the spot where coils the 
venomous rattlesnake." 

This was a new fact to me ; but I learned, subse- 
quently, while I was a resident for a brief period in 
Texas, that the old Indian fighters, and hunters of 
the country, were almost all possessed of this fac- 
ulty ; and could often follow certain scents, as uner- 
ringly as a well-trained hound. 

The hours of night glided unnoted away, as we 
rode leisurely along ; occasionally halting to breathe 
our horses, and let them crop a mouthful of the 
luxuriant mesquit grass, that grew by the side of the 
path, where the thickets did not intrude; and, at 
length, as the shadows of night were chased away 
by the approaching day, the landscape gradually 
revealed itself; and flir away, down the long reach 
of the tortuous road, which ran along a descending 
plain, loomed up the church-towers, and white 
walls of the little town of Mier. Beyond, in the 
rear of the town, flowed the bright waters of the 
Salinas, soon to unite with the Rio Grande ; while 
the far-off mountains filled up the back-ground of 
the landscape. 

When the sun, dissipating the vapors, had risen 
clear and bright above the horizon, he lighted up 


the deep green of the chaparral— sparkling with 
the brilliant dew-drops pendant from their leaves, 
and presented a picture, whose rich coloring would 
have made a study for an artist. Claude Lorraine, in 
moments of his brightest inspiration, had never con- 
ceived a picture of such surpassing beauty as that 
which now lay stretched before our eyes. 

The Colonel was riding a short distance ahead, 
with one leg thrown carelessly over the pommel of 
his saddle, apparently lost in admiration of the 
scene before us ; and, at the same time, amusing 
himself by mimicking the " cluck" of the wild turkey 
hen. Presently, to his own surprise, as well as 
ours, the responsive signal of a male bird was heard 
in the depths of the chaparral. Again the imitative 
sounds were made, and again replied to. A cock- 
turkey had been deceived by the " counterfeit notes," 
as the Colonel termed them, and was evidently ap- 
proaching the road ahead of us. Dismounting from 
his horse, and throwing his bridle over the pommel 
of my saddle, and remarking that "we were good 
for a breakfast of turkey that morning," the Colo- 
nel motioned us to halt, while he walked on ahead. 
Still repeating the call, and receiving the answering 
^' gobhle-gohhh'' of the excited bird, he chose a 
position'^under the cover of a thick clump of nopal 
leaves, and awaited his approach. Nearer and nearer 


came the answering sounds ; — till, presently, there 
emerged into the open road, a short distance in 
advance of the hunter, a beautiful cock-turkey, — or 
"gobbler," as he is termed in the South, — leading 
in his train a convoy of hens, whose sleek feathers 
reflected, in many changing hues, the light of the 
morning rays. 

For an instant, the polished tubes gleamed among 
the green, fleshy leaves of the spiky nopals; — the 
hunter leaned his head low down, to bring his one 
keen organ to range along the bright iron, and 
pressing the triggers of both locks, almost simul- 
taneously, — a flash and report, — and three noble 
birds lay on the ground before him. The remaining 
birds, terrified by the explosion, and the momentary 
struggles of their mates, stretch their necks, and 
gaze for an instant in the direction of the shot; then 
uttering wild notes of alarm, rise disorderly from 
the ground, and whirring away over the chaparral, 
are rapidly lost to sight. The birds are strapped to 
our saddle-bows, and we resume our ride. 

We had arrived within about a mile of Mier, 
when the bells of the cathedral rung out upon the 
calm morning air, in silvery tones, the music of the 
oraciones — calling all within their mellow sounds to 
morning prayers. These bells of Mier have long 
been noted for their peculiar sweetness and clear- 


ness of tones. They were cast in old Spain, and 
brought to the country more than a century and a 
half ago, — and for a hundred years had sent forth 
their silvery voices from the towers of some old 
Jesuit mission, calling the Indians from flocks and 
fields, to tell their beads before the shrine of some 
painted saint. 

Now those sweet notes were borne to our stranger 
ears, over the undulating chaparral, like words of 
welcome, — suggestive alike to us, and our wearied 
animals, of a good breakfast and comfortable quar- 
ters for the day. 


Aunt Phyllis. — A Good Breakfast. — Camanche Indians. — Their De- 
predations. — They receive a Damper. — A Sad Incident. — " Mai del 
Corazon." — Rejoining the Train. — Indians Burn a Rancho. — The 
Rescue. — The Kentuckian. — His Carbine Shot. — Its Effect. — The 
"Withdrawal of the Indians. 

We remained at Mier, till noon of the next day, 
awaiting the coming up of the train. We had found 
agreeable quarters at the house of a mulatto woman 
— Aunt Phyllis, as she w^as called ; — a refugee from 
a Louisiana cotton plantation. She, with her hus- 
band, also a mulatto, and several children, had been 
residents of the place for several years. She now 
kept a sort of hotel for the accommodation of the 
passing Americans ; — and was regarded in the town 
as one of its most respectable and w^ell-to-do 

Aunt Phyllis s(5on prepared us a truly American 
breakfast, in which fried turkey-steak, and most 
excellent coffee, formed important features. Our 
night's ride, and twenty-four hours' fasting, had put 
our stomachs in preparation to do full justice to the 


delicious cookery of our kind hostess. Soon after a 
hearty meal, we spread our blankets under the shade 
of the garden trees, and sought the repose our weary 
limbs demanded. 

We learned that the Camanches had just made an 
assault upon the neighboring ranchos ; and were now 
threatening even the town of Mier. 

These marauding savages have always been the 
pest of the country ; — and their annual raids are the 
terror of the people. The villages and ranchos are 
frequently laid in ashes, — the men and women mas- 
sacred, — and the young girls ravished, and carried 
off to their haunts among the mountains ; where they 
are subjected to the most inhuman captivity. 

The large towns, even, are not exempt from their 
visitations ; for the name of Camanche or Apache 
carries with it a prestige of most fearful import ; — 
and the cowardly half-breed Mexicans, paralyzed by 
the cry of ^^Indlo /" have rarely been known to make 
a stand against them. They have, therefore, in a 
great degree, overrun the country unmolested. 
Even during our occupation of the country, they 
made inroads, and attacked the defenseless ranclieros^ 
almost within sight of our encampments ; supposing, 
till they were taught different, that they were doing 
us a good turn. 

The first damper which these fellows received, 


was administered to them by Walter Lane, with his 
battalion of Texas Kangers, near Parras, — a consid- 
erable town among the mountains, beyond Saltillo. 

The Camanches had come down upon that place, 
on a horse-stealing raid. But Lane and his men, 
having been some wrecks in idleness, were glad of a 
chance to meet their old enemies; — and, besides, 
being on friendly terms with the people of the 
place, the more readily undertook its defense. They 
fell upon the Indians, and killed nearly one-half of 
their numbers. 

Cerralvo and Mier had often suffered from their 
depredations. On one occasion, I remember, while 
at the former place, a poor, melancholy, half-crazed 
creature called upon me, at my hospital, and begged 
me most earnestly to prescribe for her. 

^^ Sefwr Medico P^ said she, — "I am sick I — and 
have been so a long time! Cannot you give me a 
remedio ?" 

She was a stranger to me, — but I perceived by 
the wild, haggard, and prematurely-aged expression 
of her face, that her disease was of the mind ; and 
not one that medicine could reach. 

"What is your sickness? If it is such as lies 
within the province of my skill, I will cheerfully 
do what I can for you." 

"Oh, senor," replied she, with a melancholy smile 


creeping over the deep lines of her face, '•'•tcngo mal 
del corazon /" — (I have the sichiess of the heart /) 

She then went on to inform me that, some three 
winters before, the Camanches had attacked the 
place, and, killing her husband, among others of the 
citizens, had carried off into captivity her two only 
daughters — young girls of ten and twelve years of 
age. Whether they were dead, or still lingering in 
hopeless slavery, and subject to the brutal treatment 
of their heartless captors, the poor woman could 
not know^ This cruel uncertainty was what in- 
creased the mal del corazon ; — and, in the utter sim- 
plicity of her stricken heart, she really fancied that 
I could — -« 

'^ minister to a mind diseased, — 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow ; 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain ; 
And, with some sweet, oblivious antidote, 
Cleanse her stuff 'd bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighed upon her heart." 

But, like Macbeth's physician — "the disease was 
beyond my practice ;" — and I dismissed her with the 
commiserating hope, that time might, in some mea- 
sure, assuage the anguish of the childless mother's 
broken heart. 

This was but one, of many similar cases, which 
came to my knowledge, w^hile at Cerralvo. In some 


instances entire families had been carried off into 
irredeemable and hopeless captivity. 

We now rejoined the escort, and once more 
resumed the march towards Camargo. We had 
been about an hour on the road, when, on ascend- 
ing an eminence, we came in sight of the ranchito 
of Guardao, on the bank of the Rio Grande. 

Dense columns of smoke were bursting from the 
combustible materials of the thatched roofs ; — which 
were quickly tinged with scarlet and white ; — and, 
in another moment, the little hamlet was enveloped 
in the fiery embraces of the devouring element ! — 
The Indians were at their infernal work! 

A portion of 4;he escort consisted of mounted 
men, among whom were several Kentucky cavalry 
men, and a number of Texian Rangers, of Captain 
Reed's company. 

These were immediately ordered to spur ahead to 
the relief of the rancheros. Col. Cook and myself 
had already started in advance ; and, putting our 
horses to their speed, soon arrived at the burning 

The Indians, seeing our approach, as we sped 
towards them along the descending ground, dashed 
into the river, and made good their escape, hj 
placing it between us and themselves. 

The rapid stream not being fordable, we were 


unable to pursue them. Their little Camanche 
horses took to the water like spaniels ;— and by the 
time we had arrived at the margin of the current, 
on our side, they were ascending with their wild 
riders, up the steep bank of the other, — where they 
were all quickly concealed behind the heavy chap- 

The rancheros had discovered the approach of 
their enemies, in time to escape to the thickets ; 
leaving their homes, and all they contained, to be 
destroyed by their ruthless invaders. 

The Texians proposed to cross the river higher 
up the stream, and give them a fight ; but that 
could not be done, without leaving the train unpro- 
tected, and upon reflection, the idea of attacking 
the Indians was abandoned. 

I had ridden into the stream, to water my horse, 
and was followed by a Kentuckian, for the same 
purpose. He carried the usual carbine, suspended 
by a broad belt from his shoulder, and hanging 
under the left arm. It was the breech-loading, 
short-barreled weapon, such as had been recently 
adopted in the army; and had been furnished to the 
volunteer cavalry, as well as the regular dragoons. 
Some of the new Ranger companies had adopted 
them ;— but the earlier Texas volunteers preferred 
the old backwoods rifle, or the six-shooting revolver. 


and refused to use them, asserting that they were 
of too short a range for efficiency. 

While our animals were drinking, an Indian pre- 
sented himself on the edge of the opposite bank ; 
and, presuming upon the distance, amused himself, 
by turning his back to us, and going through a 
variety of insulting pantomimes ; then facing about 
and, snapping the thong of his bow, as if threaten- 
ing to try its force upon us. The river at this point 
widened out into a broad expanse, with its surface 
broken by sand-bars and little grassy islands, so 
that the distance from bank to bank was nearly 
half a mile. 

Had I a good rifle, I should have planted a bullet 
into his tawny hide for his impudence. 

The Kentuckian, observing my impatience and 
sharing it, unslung his carbine, and applying a new 
cap, quietly observed — 

" I reckon I can put a stop to thiS; fellow's sport ! 
They do say," continued he, "that these carbines 
won't shoot ! This one, however, did some good 
service at Buena Vista, if I'm not mistaken. But 
there, you remember, sir, the distances were too 
short to prove their qualities. Now, here's for a 
trial at a long shot, at yonder red devil !" 

So saying, he brought the stock of his short gun 
to his cheek ; and drawing a bead upon the naked 


back of the savage, pressed the trigger. The Indian 
gave one wild, ringing yell, and springing into the 
air, as I have seen a buck do, v^^hen shot to the 
heart, he pitched head first, dov^n the bank, into the 
muddy current below ! 

" There !" drily observed the Kentuckian, as he 
coolly proceeded to wipe out the empty tube, "I 
reckon that gun will pass ! I'd like to see one of 
your old-fashioned rifles beat that ! I tell ye what 
stranger ! that old red skin will burn no more 
ranches — this side of Jordan !" 

This was the last we heard of the Camanches, 
while we remained in the country. Finding that 
the Americans were not disposed to permit their 
depredations upon the ranches, they returned to 
their hunting ranges, to await the withdrawal of 
our army ; when, no doubt, they renewed their hos- 
tilities, with still greater atrocities than before, if 
such were possible. 


The Guerrillas molest our Trains. — Jesus Eomero. — His Generous 
Conduct to the Ranger. — Expedition against his Party. — Direc- 
tions. — Dismiss the Guide. — A Wild Region. — The Valleys of the 
Sierra Madre. — Lose the Trail. — Find Another. — Night overtakes 
us. — "A Rancho!" — A mistake. — The Corral. — Water. — A Pic- 
turesque Group. — Lonely Situation. — The Dutchman and the 
Wolves. — Coyotes. — Signs of Humanity. — An Oral Phenome- 
non. — The same experienced on the Mustang Deserts. — Unlike 
the Mirage. — How Accounted for. — Watering our Horses. — The 
Grama or Mesquit Grass. — We eat our Last Rations. — A Dilem- 
ma. — A Ranger assumes the Guidance. — Another Yalley. — The 
San Juan. — Beautiful Variety of Cacti. — The " Cereus Gigan- 
ticus." — The Encampment.— No Supper. — Armdaillos. — A Deli- 
cious Dish. 

In the autumn of 1S47, the guerrillas had become 
numerous; every rancho and village contributing 
men to swell their ranks. 

Our trains were liable at any moment, while in 
transit, to be attacked by them. They had adopted 
a system of annoyances, that required the utmost 
vigilance of our troops, escorting them, to guard 

They had their hidden rendezvous all along the 
road, from Camargo to Monterey; and had spies at 


every rancho near the route, to give notice of the 
passage of a train, which, if not strongly escorted, 
would be pounced upon suddenly, from an unex- 
pected quarter, -and a portion of it cut out, and 
hurried off into the labyrinthian recesses of the 

They much preferred to waylay the mule-trains ; 
as these w^ere attended, and managed by Mexican 
arrieros, who were more readily intimidated ; and 
the animals, with their cargoes, were rapidly hurried 
out of reach of pursuit. 

Among the bands of guerrillas, who occasioned 
us the most trouble, from their skillfully planned 
and unexpected attacks, was one under the cap- 
taincy of Jesus Romero. This man, I)o?i Jesus, as 
he was called amongst his countrymen, was a 
ranchero of respectable standing, and some wealth, 
which consisted of droves of horses and black cat- 
tle, and flocks of goats. He had been alcalde of 
Cerralvo for several years previous to the war. He 
was a remarkably fine-looking person; — large and 
athletic, and having the reputation of being a brave 
and generous partisan. 

In the affair of Manteca, where Baylor was routed 
by the guerrillas, a ranger belonging to his company, 
by the name of Jennings, had his horse shot down, 
while he was endeavoring to escape through the 


thickets. He succeeded, however, in secreting 
himself, till the attacking party had withdrawn ; — 
when, for several days, he wandered through the 
chaparral, and subsisted on wild tomatoes, and the 
fruit of the prickly pear. At length he came in 
sight of a rancho, which he approached. He was 
received kindly by the people, and furnished with 
food and clothing; — his own light dress had been 
torn to shreds among the thorns and cacti of the 

The Texian remained several days among these 
kind nmcheros; till Romero, hearing of the circum- 
stance, visited him, and, furnishing him with a 
good horse, accompanied him to Cerralvo, whence 
he rejoined the remnant of his company at Mon- 

This brave guerrilla was now causing us a good 
deal of trouble. But a few days before, he had 
attacked, and succeeded in getting off with, a por- 
tion of an atajo de mulas (mule-train), even as it was 
entering the town, where there were stationed at 
the time no less than three companies of Rangers, 
and a battalion of the 16th infantry. 

Therefore, as these fellows could not be come at 
in a fair, open fight, it was determined to hunt them 
out among the secluded ranches and mountains, 
where they were in the habit of rendezvousing ; 


and, if possible, force tliem to a fight on their own 

Accordingly, Major Norval, of the 16th infantry, 
with a portion of Captain Reed's company of Texas 
Rangers, the "Licking Rangers," from Ohio, a num- 
ber of the 16th infantry, mounted for the occasion, 
with a few volunteers, started forth on this expe- 

As this would afford a good opportunity to see a 
portion of the country never before visited by the 
Americans, I availed myself of it, and obtained per- 
mission to accompany the party. 

As far as the village of Ramos, we escorted a 
large w^agon-train, bound to headquarters. At this 
place we passed the train over to the protection of 
a party of infantry. Turning off to the right from 
the main road, we struck into a path which soon 
brought us to a small rancho, where we pressed into 
our service one of the people, to act as a guide. 

We had formed no definite plan of proceeding, 
but determined to be governed by circumstances in 
the pursuit of our search. 

There is no doubt, but that a more suitable selec- 
tion might have been made, in the officer, to whom 
was intrusted the command of this imj^ortant ex- 
pedition. Major Norval was a worthy and brave 

officer, but altogether inexperienced in bush-craft, 


and the habits of guerrillas. He himself had sug- 
gested the propriety of making up the party entirely 
of Texas Eangers, under the command of their own 
officers. But Lieutenant-Colonel Webb, who com- 
manded the post, aware that the 16th infantry had 
done nothing since they came to the country, in- 
sisted upon one of his own officers heading this 

We had received information, which led us to be- 
lieve that Romero, with his band, was in the habit 
of ocupying the ranchos, and water-courses in this 
part of the country ; but as he remained only a 
short time at any one place, we should depend 
upon such chance information as we hoped to 
obtain from the rancheros, whom we should en- 

Our guide was an old man, and, being on foot, we 
soon dispensed with his services, as we supposed we 
should have no difficulty in obtaining another at 
some neighboring rancho. 

The old fellow, on leaving us, gave directions by 
which, he said, w^e would soon reach another ranch, 
where a guide could be found, who was familiar 
with the whole country. 

Said he, — " Follow this trail, till you come to 
the foot of yonder mountain; — then turn to the 
right, and follow a very dim trail for about a league 


and a half; — this will bring you to a road leading to 
the rancho. On reaching this road, turn to the left ; 
but, before you reach it, you will cross a stream of 
clear water. Don't let your horses drink of it, as 
it flows out of a silver mine, in the mountains, and is 
poisonous. Follow my directions, seiiores, and you 
will have no trouble in reaching the rancho." 

We followed the old man's directions to the let- 
ter. We reached the foot of the mountain indicated, 
and turned to the right, along the dim trail. We 
crossed the stream of water of which we had been 
cautioned, and, although our animals were in want 
of water, we dared not let them quench their thirst ; 
but hastened along, anxious to enter the more beaten 
road, which we expected soon to find. We rode 
along the dim trail, which passed through a moun- 
tain gap, and finally opened upon a barren plain 

Here, instead of leading into a more beaten track, 
it was soon broken into a number of branching 
paths, w^iich were finally lost altogether. 

We had ridden several leagues, to reach this 
point, and were now convinced that the knavish 
old Mexican had deceived us, and intentionally led 
us off the right course. 

We were now in an extremely wild and desolate 
region. Around us the dark mountains reared their 


craggy heads, inclosing a tract of broken land, 
where the hard, gravelly soil gave birth to a stunted 
growth of cacti and palmettos, with here and there 
a clump of thorny iucsquits, or scraggy ehona. 

This plateau was many leagues in extent, so far 
as we could judge from the view we had obtained 
of it, on crossing a spur of the mountain, over which 
our path had carried us. The mountains approached 
each other on either hand; but, as is frequently the 
case among the valleys of the Sierra Madre, the 
plain opened a long vista before us, and stretched 
avv^ay in irregular windings, till lost in the distance 
by an abrupt angle of the parallel ridges. 

We were now at a loss what course to pursue. 
The day was far advanced ; and, if we retraced our 
steps, it would be night, long before we could reach 
the rancho from whence we had started, and the 
entire day would have been lost; — we might con- 
tinue along over the plain, and, doubtless, a trail 
might be struck, which, follow^ing, would lead to 
some point, from whence we could make a new start 
on the morrow. At all events, it was important 
that we should find water, as our horses were now 
suffering for the want of it. 

The Major, tjierefore, concluded to divide the 
party, and search for a trail passing over the plain. 
The party which should discover one, was directed 


to give notice by firing a shot ; when we were to re- 
unite again. 

A party of Texians soon gave the wished-for 
signal. They had found a trail, which had been 
made by cattle ; but it was now so old, that it was 
impossible to tell which end of it to pursue. A 
season seemed to have passed, since this path had 
been traveled over ; — but there was no doubt that, 
if we fortunately chanced upon the right direction, it 
would lead us to water at least. We, therefore, 
determined to follow in the direction which led 
towards the base of the mountains. 

We rode along this path for hours. Gradually it 
began to assume a wider and more beaten character. 
Several other and smaller trails were now entering it 
at various angles ; and we began to congratulate 
ourselves on approaching a rancho. 

Night had overtaken us ; but the stars afforded 
light enough to enable us to keep the trail, which 
still became clearer as we advanced. Still, no wel- 
come rancho appeared in sight. 

At length, however, those of us who were in the 
advance, perceived in the obscure distance ahead, 
what appeared to be the outlines of a rancho. 

We w^ere certain it was not a clump of chap- 
arral, — neither was it a cluster of rocks. There 
were the rough bark-covered timbers of an inclo- 


sure. Yes, it was what we so much wished to 

" A rancho!— a rancho!" — was shouted to those 
of our friends who were in the rear ; and the wel- 
come cry was greeted with a glad " hurrah," which 
ought to have aroused the inhabitants of the place. 

But, to our great chagrin, not even a dog replied 
to the unusual sound ; and, on following up the 
path, we found ourselves in the inclosure of a large 
corral, — a picketed circle, built for herding and 
branding wild cattle. 

No sounds of humanity greeted our ears ; and, on 
searching around the corral, nothing could be found 
indicating the neighborhood of Mexicans. A stream, 
however, was found in the rear of the inclosure ; but, 
so far as we could ascertain in the dark, it was unap- 
proachable to our weary and thirsty animals. It 
ran at the bottom of a deep canon, and could only 
be reached by clambering down the steep side, with 
the assistance of our lariats attached to the bushes 
on the bank above. By this means we succeeded in 
filling our canteens, and obtaining enough to furnish 
each man with a cup of coffee ; but our horses could 
not be supplied. They were, however, somewhat 
relieved by the dew that had fallen heavily on the 
wiry grass, on which they were glad to feed after 
their hard day's travel. 


Fires were soon 'kindled, and our scanty suppers 
of tasajo^ hard bread, and coffee, disposed of. The 
guard was posted around the outside of the corral ; 
and, spreading our bhmkets and saddles, — the latter 
were our pillows, — we sought the refreshing repose 
which sleeping in the open air of that delicious cli- 
mate always brings to the weary traveler. 

We presented a picturesque group, as we lay 
stretched in promiscuous disorder over the ground. 
The flickering light of our camp-fires, illuminating 
the corral, lighted up the deformed outlines of the 
rough pickets which formed its walls. Here and 
there, a dark opening appeared, where some partial- 
ly-decayed timber had been torn away, to furnish 
the fires. Through these openings, clusters of thick- 
leaved nopals stretched their hydra-headed and gro- 
tesque contortions, and seemed to peer in upon us 
with vicious eyes, — waiting only for slumber to 
steep our senses, when they would spring upon us, 
and strangle us in their spiky embraces. 

We were, doubtless, leagues away from any 
human habitation; for these corrals are frequently 
met with in the extensive cattle-ranges of Mexico 
and Texas, at great distances from the homes of 
the vaqueros. The quiet stars gleamed calmly and 
coldly down upon us, and the night wind brought 
no sounds of life from the surrounding gloom. True, 


we were a somewhat numerous party ; but in this 
wild region, ignorant of our whereabouts, and un- 
certain what course we should pursue on the mor- 
row ; destitute of food, and our horses suffering for 
the want of water; — all these circumstances crowd- 
ing upon my mind, as I lay among my sleeping 
comrades, caused a feeling of solitude and loneliness 
which was entirely new to me. 

At last I was forced to yield to the drowsy god, 
and lost all unpleasant thoughts, in visions of far 
different scenes. 

I cannot say how long I had slept, when I was 
aroused by an excited exclamation : 

" Oh ! vat de tuile ist dat ? Some tam animal on 
mine planket ! Get out /" 

This proceeded from one of the Ohio Rangers, 
who had spread his blanket at the same fire with 
myself. He had sprung to a sitting posture, and 
extended a cocked pistol towards an object, the 
outlines of which I obtained a momentary glimpse 
of, as it glided between us and the expiring fire. 

I snatched the weapon from the hand of the half- 
awakened Dutchman ; for, had he snapped it at the 
retreating shadow, he would have done so at the 
imminent risk of the lives or limbs of his comrades, 
on the other side of the fire. 

"Toctor ! vat de tufle ist it !— a bainter ?" 


I assured him that it was nothing more than a 
hungry coyote^ that, probably, tempted by the scent 
of our suppers, had ventured into the corral. 

" A coyote ! Vat ish a coyote ?" 

" It is a kind of jackal, or small chaparral wolf," 
I replied. 

" A volf, you say ! Dunder und blixen ! Vel, 
den, I guess I schleps no more dis night. I vii go 
and talk mit de guard." 

So, gathering up his blankets, and wrapping them 
over his shoulders, he started to the opening of the 
inclosure, in search of a sentinel, and more facts 
in relation to the nature of a coyote. Had I simply 
informed him that the animal which had disturbed 
his slumbers was a coyote, without entering into an 
explanation as to its species, it would have caused 
him no alarm ; but the idea, that a wolf was shar- 
ing his blanket, was more than even a phlegmatic 
Dutchman could submit to. 

Laughing heartily at the abrupt departure of my 
sleeping companion, I resumed my horizontal posi- 
tion, and yielded to the drowsy influences of the 
hour. Those about me were giving voice to a 
variety of nasal notes, which, though not of the 
most musical character, seemed to impart a somno- 
lent virtue to the air I inhaled. 

I had nearly taken up the thread of my dreams, 


where it had been broken off, by the sudden excla- 
mation of the Dutchman, when I heard a soft stealthy- 
tread on the dry crispy grass between me and the 
pickets. Then something sprang lightly over my 
head — I felt a hairy tail brush rapidly across my 
face ; — and cautiously turning towards the fire, I 
perceived a coyote moving timidly between it and 
myself. Snuffing among the ashes he discovered 
the remnant of a half consumed bone, the relic of 
our scanty supper. Seating himself leisurely upon 
a corner of my blanket, he began to crunch the 
juiceless morsel. Soon he was joined by another ; 
and still others came, till at length I counted no 
less than seven of these animals moving around the 
expiring embers, and searching for the crumbs which, 
had been scattered about them. 

I began to think, like the ranger, that I, also, 
would go and " talk mit de guard;" but then I re- 
membered I had frequently heard of their visiting 
our night bivouacs, and that the Texians regarded 
them as entirely harmless, — aside from their thieving 
propensities. So, throwing my cap amongst them, 
and scaring them to another quarter of the corral, 
I turned over, and resumed my dreams. 

I was awakened before the break of day by a 
sentinel, who gave me the pleasant information, 
that we were not far from a rancho. 


" How do you know that ?" I asked. 

*' I have heard the barking of dogs, and the crow- 
ing of chickens," replied he. " There now, hark ! 
don't you hear that ?" 


" That shrill crowing of chickens ! — there 'tis 
again — once, twice, three times ! And there, too, is 
the barking of dogs !" 

I listened with my head to the ground, but not 
a sound struck upon my ear, which I could con- 
strue into those familiar signals of humanity. 

I quit my blankets, and climbed to the top of 
the pickets ; yet, notwithstanding the slightest 
concussion vibrates afar through the elastic atmos- 
phere of these elevated plains, I could hear no- 

Declaring that I must have lost my hearing, the 
sentinel left me, and aroused others to listen for the 
wished-for sounds. Some, like myself, remained 
deaf to them. At length, however, one or two 
fancied they did hear something, somewhat resem- 
bling those welcome. voices. 

After a while, the whole camp was on the alert 
to catch the sounds. Some went out from the 
corral — away from the confused noises of the crowd, 
— and, laying their ears to the ground, listened 
breathlessly for them. Several thought they heard 


the barking of dogs, but could not detect the crow- 
ing of chanticleer ; — others again were certain that 
they could readily distinguish the " cock-a-dudle-du f 
but not the baying of the dogs ; — and others again, 
asserted most positively, that they heard both the 
crowing and the baying, till at length almost 
every man in the party was confident that he heard 
the most unmistakable evidences of our vicinity to 
the abodes of men. 

Yet at this very time, when at least three-fourths 
of the party fancied — nay, wotild have sivorn — that 
they really heard the voices of chickens and dogs — 
not one of those domestic animals was within 
many leagues of us. The wish was parent to the 

I have since experienced the same hallucination 
when bivouacking on the extensive Mustang desert 
of southwestern Texas. I have laid awake at night, 
and, in the 

'' Sma' hours ayaut the twal," 

actually believed that, on the return of the morning 
light, I should find a human habitation close at 
hand ; — when long leagues stretched their weary 
distance between us and the nearest settlement. 

This deception of the sense of hearing i* not akin 
to the optical illusion of the mirage ; which latter is 

WATER. 373 

occasioned by a peculiar condition of the atmos- 
phere, and reflection or refraction of light. But the 
oral illusion is altogether dependent upon the nerv- 
ous condition of the subject. In one instance, the 
optic nerve conveys a correct impression, so far as 
itself is directly concerned, to the brain. In the 
other, the brain, being under the influence of a pecu- 
liar excitement, receives impressions, which are not 
transmitted by the auditory apparatus, but, by a sort 
of volition, are received and registefed as true audi- 
tory vibrations. 

As soon as the light of day returned, we began to 
reconnoitre our position, and search for a place by 
which we could approach the water with our horses. 
They had now passed about twenty hours without 
drink. We found a point in the canon, where, by 
partly sliding on their haunches, and partly scram- 
bling down, they could reach the stream. The 
ascent on the other side was easy enough ; and led 
to a parterre where the grama, or mesquit grass, was 
growing in luxuriant abundance. There we con- 
cluded to stake out our animals for an hour, to 
allow them to lay in a good supply of its succulent 
and nourishing capsules. 

The eye could detect no sign of human habita- 
tion within its range ; — not even were cattle to be 
seen upon the whole extent of the plateau. The 


morning songs of birds and the chirp of the cicada 
were the only living sounds that fell upon the ear. 
A more lonely and isolated valley could not be 
found. It was a fit place for some world-sick mis- 
anthrope, who would seek a quiet habitation among 
the undisturbed solitudes of nature. 

After our horses had filled themselves with the 
rich pasturage, and we had eaten our last ration of 
came seco, and washed it dowii with our tin-cup of 
coffee each, we* saddled up, and awaited the order 
to resume our pathless march. 

Wliich way should w^e go? This was now a 
matter of consultation. Had we been in an open 
prairie country, it would have been soon decided ; 
our course would have been guided by the compass ; 
but, surrounded as we were by mountains on either 
hand, it required some knowledge of hunter-craft to 
know the right direction to search for a trail. A 
Texas Ranger, however, volunteered to bring us to 
the San Juan river; where, at some point along its 
banks, we would be sure of finding a rancho ; and 
the Major gladly accepted his guidance. 

Accordingly, we struck over tow^ards the base of 
the liills, with a viev/ of finding a passage through, 
or over them, to the next valley beyond. We were 
fortunate in falling in with the bed of a small stream, 
flowing through a deep and narrow pass, dcwn 


wliicli we followed, till it debouched into the valley. 
Along this valley we rode for several hours, keep- 
ing the willows, which skirted the banks of the 
stream, still in view, 

After traveling some eight or ten leagues, and the 
day being nearly spent, we at length struck a trail, 
which, following two or three leagues further, 
brought us to the bank of a large stream, which 
was immediately recognized as the San Juan. 

Plunging into its rocky bed, and struggliiig 
through the rapid current that washed our saddle- 
skirts, we landed amid a luxuriant growth of live- 
oaks, acacia, and ebona^ — a forest, in short, such as 
is rarely seen in this region. 

Here we observed several beautiful varieties of 
the cacti family, which we had never met with 
before. Besides the nopal or cochineal plant, the 
maguey, the Spanish bayonet, and a spheroidal 
cactus {melocactus communis), which, in this prolific 
soil, grew to a gigantic size, we were struck with 
the huge proportions of a variety of cactus, which 
was new to most of us. It sprung from the crevices 
of the rocks, and upon the edge of the river-bank, 
to a height of from twelve to twenty-five feet, — a 
fluted column of an octagonal form, and without a 
leaf or branch. It tapered in graceful proportions 
from the ground, as straight and perfect as if fash- 


ioned by the hand of art. Along the angles of this 
green column, the white porcelain-like flowers were 
arranged, at regular distances, to the top ; while, 
upon the very apex, a cluster of blossoms, larger and 
more brilliant than the others, formed a fitting 
coronal for this noblest representative of the most 
numerous family of plants to be found in tropical 
forests. This columnar cactus is known as the 
Cereiis gigantic us. 

We now found ourselves riding along a w^ell- 
beaten road, over which a number of heavily-loaded 
carretas had but recently passed. The road lay 
along the bank of the stream, down which we fol- 
lowed. We reached an open glade, where there 
was an abundant supply of the rich grama grass, 
just as the setting sun w^as casting the long shadows 
across the San Juan. Here we found the embers 
of a recent camp-fire, still glowing among the grass. 
It was, no doubt, the last resting-place of the car- 
reteros^ whose tracks we had observed along the 
road. They had passed the previous night here. 
This was an evidence that we were still distant 
from anyrancho; and we, therefore, concluded to 
follow their example. In a few minutes, our horses 
were stripped, and greedily cropping the luxuriant 

This night, our last ration of cofiee was consumed ; 


after partaking of which, we spread our blankets 
for the night. Some of our comrades had fallen 
asleep, — to revel, perhaps, in dreams of well-spread 
tables and festal cheer. The Texians, however, 
had observed several dark objects gliding through 
the grass, and were on the look-out for a supper. 
Soon, the report of a carbine proclaimed their suc- 
cess ; then another ; and several others, at short in- 
tervals. I left my blankets, and, going into the 
edge of the timber, discovered the cause of the fir- 
ing. Our friends had had the good luck to shoot 
six or seven armadillos. These are nocturnal ani- 
mals, somewhat common in the country, and are 
considered, by the natives, as the richest delicacy. 

They were brought in, and divided among the 
hungry men. The fires were replenished, and soon 
the fragrance of roasted meat pervaded the camp. 

But the northern men of our party were not yet 
hungry enough to eat the meat of these strange 
animals. Many had not even heard of an armadillo, 
— and their covering of mail and long rat-like tails 
were by no means tempting to their fastidious ap- 
petites. A greater share, therefore, fell to the lot 
of those who were less squeamish ; and some of our 
number made a most delicious supper; — for, preju- 
dice aside, the armadillo furnishes one of the most 
delicate dishes I ever remember to have eaten. I 


have seen them served up in a great variety of 
v^ays by Mexicans and South Americans, — and, as 
they so much surpass any other wild meat, it is 
difficult to decide which is the most preferable mode 
of cooking them. 


Resumption of the March.— Guerrillas in Sight.— The Race.— Mys- 
terious Disappearance of the Guerrillas. — The Race continued. — 
The Wounded Mexican.— Prisoners.— Chaparral Surgery. — Ro- 
mero's Men. — Hacienda of San Miguel. — Signs of Guerrillas. — The 
Mayoral. — The Porkers. — A Bereaved Parent. — Efforts to Alle- 
viate Hunger.— The Search for Forage. — Discovery of a Prize. — 
The Secret of the Mayoral's Hospitality. — Foundered Horses. — 
San Cristobal.— Signal Guns.— The Town Deserted.— Dignity and 
Inhospitality. — The Alcalde.— No Prospect of Food.— The Texian's 
Remedy. — Its good Results. — Prospects for a Supper Improve. — 
Women and hot Tortillas. — The Alcalde improves on acquaint- 
tance. — Canales' Orders. — Supper comes in good Time, — An 
Agreeable Ending to an Unpromising Beginning.— Arrival at 

The morning light found us on our road again, 
following down the right bank of the San Juan. 

We were riding leisurely along, — admiring the 
varied objects of interest, in the floral and geologic- 
al developments, which presented themselves along 
our route. We had almost forgotten the real object 
of our expedition, — when the party of Eangers, 
who had been sent in advance, as vedettes, were 
seen riding back, and motioning us to halt. 

They reported that a body of mounted Mexicans 


had appeared along the top of the high bank, on the 
opposite side of the river. It was apparent that they 
had not discovered our party, as we were screened 
by the cacti, and other growth, which covered the 
edge of the river-bank on our side. The Mexicans 
were also proceeding down the river ; — and, as they 
were moving slowly, we doubted not we could 
cross the stream fn their rear, and approach them 
before they would suspect our presence. 

We, therefore, halted for a moment, that they 
might get ahead; — then, taking to the current, 
which, though rapid, was fordable at almost any 
point, we reached the left bank undiscovered. 

Ascending the bank, we found a well-trodden 
trail, which, like the one we had been traveling on 
the other side, ran parallel to the river. 

We rode along silently, at a gentle trot, for 
about a mile, when, at a turn in the road, we came 
in sight of the Mexicans. They were a party of 
some fifty, well armed and mounted ; — but they 
had observed us at the same instant; — and, putting 
spurs to their mustangs, flew rapidly along the trail, 
leaving a cloud of dust behind them. 

Our horses were in good condition, — thanks to 
the grama of our last halting-place, — and an excit- 
ing chase now commenced. 

Should there be no side-trails, leading through the 


thick undergrowth, from that we were on, w^e would 
soon overtake them, and bring them to a stand. 
But, along all the bridle-paths, as well as the more 
traveled wagon-roads, we had encountered these 
branching trails, leading from the main track. 
They were, probably, made by cattle wandering 
from one grassy glade to another. 

We were evidently gaining upon the guerrillas, 
for such they no doubt were. 

They were within carbine range ; but we were 
not disposed to waste our shots. We hoped they 
w^ould take to cover, and give us a chance for a fair 
fight, as our numbers were about equal. 

We had now reached a point where we could see 
for some distance along the trail. About half a mile 
in advance, it passed over an abrupt spur of a high 
range of hills, where, no doubt, the Mexicans in- 
tended to make a stand. The ascent was steep ; 
while a tangled growth of chaparral made the hill 
unapproachable, save along the path. 

It was an object with us, to reach the hill as soon 
as possible , after the enemy, to make the attack be- 
fore they could have time to form, or seek shelter 
under cover of the rocks, which covered the crest 
of the eminence. 

Rapidly they scoured along the path, — putting 
their little animals to their best paces. They had 



nearly reached the foot of the hill ; but were lost to 
sight by a short angle in the road ; — we could dis- 
tinctly hear the clatter of their horses' hoofs over the 
loose stones. 

Sinking the rowels into our horses' flanks, we 
pushed them along at a killing rate. We had reach- 
ed the foot of the hill, — but where were the guer- 
rillas ! We saw them but a moment before ; — but, 
with the exception of some half dozen, who were 
flying over .the hill, they had suddenly and mys- 
teriously disappeared ! Some pursued on up the 
steep ascent of the hill, while others drew up to 
examine the ground at its base. 

Here, to our extreme chagrin, we discovered nu- 
merous trails, leading out from the dry bed of a sum- 
mer stream. These trails led off in every direction, 
and each bore the fresh track of the flying mus- 

It wms now evident that the guerrillas had dis- 
persed, and a further pursuit was worse than use- 

Our object was now to overtake those who had 
kept on the main path, if possible, and, by taking 
one of the number prisoner, force him into our ser- 
vice as a guide. 

I had checked my horse but an instant, at the spot 
where we had lost sight of the guerrillas; but con- 


tinued to push on up the hill. The retreating Mexi- 
cans in advance of us, had passed out of sight over 
the crest, followed closely by a number of the Texian 
Kangers. As I reached the top of the ascent, I heard 
the crack! crack! in rapid succession, of two rifle 
shots ; then, on looking down the path on the 
descending side, the Mexicans again were seen, still 
ahead of the pursuing Rangers. I observed, how- 
ever, that the foremost rider was reeling in his 

As I gained upon them, a dark crimson stain dis- 
colored the white camisa and buckskin calzones of 
the Mexican, and dabbled down the foaming flanks 
of his horse. 

The panting animal was doing his best ; — but, as 
he reached the bottom of the descent, and w^as cross- 
ing the rocky bed of a brook, he made a misstep, 
and stumbled, — falling partially upon his knees ; — 
but, quick as thought, he recovered his feet. The 
sudden and unexpected motion, however, was too 
much for the wounded man, who, already exhausted 
from the loss of blood, now lost his hold, and fell to 
the ground. 

Seeing the fate of their comrade, the others drew 
up where he had fallen, and, throwing down their 
arms, awaited our approach. 

The Rangers secured their prisoners, w^hile I dis- 


mounted, and proceeded to examine the condition 
of the wounded Mexican. 

A rifle ball had passed through his right arm, shat- 
tering the humerus, and severing the artery. When 
our party came up, I was engaged in taking up the 
bleeding vessel. With the leaves of the Spanish 
bayonet plant which grew at hand, I was supplied 
with the best of splints ; and one of the Mexicans, 
untying the silken sash about his loins, furnished all 
I required in the way of a bandage. 

In a short time, the wounded man w^as able to be 
placed on his saddle ; and remounting, we all pro- 
ceeded on our way. We learned from our prisoners, 
that they w^ere part of the band of Romero, w^hom 
they had started out to join, at the hacienda of San 
Miguel, about two leagues distant. 

It was about noon, when we reached the hacienda, 
w^hich w^as a small sugar-cane and maize plantation, 
under the charge of a Mayoral or agent. The 
principal house, an adobe structure of one story, 
was occupied by that person. The Jacals surround- 
ing it were of less pretending appearance and occu- 
pied by the ^jeoiis, who performed the labors of the 

On approaching the entrance of the picketed 
inclosure which surrounded the houses, we observed 
the footprints of a large body of horse. These 


were doubtlessly made by the guerrillas, who had 
recently left the place. 

In fact, our prisoners asserted that their leader, 
joined by the party, to whom they had belonged, 
had left the place within an hour. 

The Major would have continued the pursuit 
without halting, had not the famished condition of 
the command required a temporary halt. 

As we were entering the place, we were met by 
the worthy MayoraL who received us with a grand 
flourish of welcome ; and, leading the way up to the 
front of his residence, invited us to alight and make 
ourselves at home. 

" Soy miiy servidor de nstedes, scTiores! y la hacienda, 
con todo que la tiene, estd muy a sus dis^osiciones." 

"What says he, Doctor?" inquired the Major, 
appealing to me, whose services were usually called 
upon, when an interpreter was required. 

I replied, — anglicizing the Mayoral's compliment- 
ary tender of hospitality, — that the hacienda, and 
all it contained, was at our service. 

"Well! I'll be shot, old fellow, if you ain't the 

most obleeging greaser this chap ever treed !" 

exclaimed a hungry Texian, taking him at his word ; 

"and to prove you're no liar," continued he, "here 

goes for a roast pig, for my share !" 

So, coolly dismounting from his horse, the Texian 

386 CHILE cox CARNE. 

drew bead upon one of a litter of plethoric pork- 
lings, at the further end of the yard, fired, and the 
little animal fell to the ground without a grunt. 

^^ Estd bueno / hien hecho, amigo mioP^ (That's 
good, well done, my friend !) quietly observed the 
imperturbable Mexican, whose eye had followed the 
motions of the Kanger. 

" Yes ! pretty fat pig, that's a fact, old fellow !" 

" Seeing as how you take it so mighty easy, 
neighbor," says one of the Buckeye Kangers, " I 
guess I'll try one of them ere suckers myself!" 

"And here goes for another !" 

"And another!" cried several voices. And, in 
less time than it takes to tell it, the maternal parent 
of the sleek little grunters was left in the melan- 
choly condition of the disconsolate Rachel, — who 
would not be comforted, because her children were 

In the mean time a dozen fires were kindled about 
the place ; and the men, putting the hospitality of 
the Mexican to the severest test, had appropriated 
to their own use, not only roasters, but kids, chick- 
ens, and such other delicacies as came to hand. 

Soon a variety of delicious flavors emanated from 
the fires, and filled the atmosphere of the place with 
their grateful fragrance. 

In passing through the houses of the peons, a 


number of women were found, who were set at 
work at their rnetates^ and in a little while the 
'pat! jpat! imt! of their busy hands gave promise 
of a supply of tortillas^ — a fitting accompaniment 
to the barbecued and broiled meat of kids and 

In the mean time, while a portion of the men 
were engaged in preparing the dinners, others were 
occupied in searching the premises for corn, and 
other provender for our horses. 

A large adobe building, at some distance from the 
main rancho, attracted their observation. 

On reaching it, however, they found the doors 
firmly secured ; but a narrow opening in the wall 
afforded a view of the interior. 

The one room of this store-house, for such it was, 
was piled from the floor to the thatched roof, with 
a mingled mass of barrels, boxes, and sacks, which 
had a foreign appearance, most unappropriate to 
this out-of-the-way locality. 

Soon the doors were made to yield before the 
blows of the extemporaneous battering-rams, wield- 
ed by the Rangers ; and on entering the building 
they found it filled with barrels of flour, sugar, 
molasses, and vinegar ; boxes of sperm candles and 
soap, sacks of meal, salt, preserved fruits, and oats ; 
detached portions of harnesses, artisans' tools, and 


many other matters, enumerated among the ordinary 
stores of an army. 

These articles were immediately recognized as 
the property of Uncle Sam ; in fact, the robbers, 
so confident of their security in this isolated place, 
had not even taken the precaution to obliterate the 
brands of " U. S. A.," with which all our army sup- 
plies were marked. 

We learned afterwards, that this plunder was part 
of the cargoes of the train, whose drivers were so 
inhumanly massacred near Marin, early in the spring 

The owner of the hacienda was an officer in the 
corps commanded by Urrea; and had purchased 
these stores on a speculation. No doubt, had he 
been able to retain them, till the American army 
had withdrawn from the city of Monterey, he 
would have made a small fortune by the opera- 

Here, we discovered the secret of the extreme hos- 
pitality, and friendly disposition of our hace?idado, 
who had been made the custodian of his employer's 
treasures. He could afford to submit patiently to 
the slaughter of his pigs and flocks, so long as they ^ 
would divert the attention of our men from the 
valuable depot of our own property, under his 


As may be supposed, we lost no time in securing 
our host, and putting him under the surveillance of 
the guard. 

Our horses were once more regaled on an abund- 
ant feed of oats, which they doubly relished after 
several days' abstinence from grain. The conse- 
quence was, that a good number of them, being 
overfed, were badly foundered, and unable to pro- 
ceed, when, two hours after, a portion of the com- 
mand resumed the march. 

Leaving a party of twenty-five men at the haci- 
enda, to guard the stores of the plundered train, the 
Major now determined to return to Cerralvo by the 
most expeditious route, and dispatch wagons for 
their removal. 

Therefore, taking the Mayoral for a guide, and 
leaving our other prisoners behind, we again took 
the road. 

That night we encamped at the imchlec'ito of San 

As we approached the village, we heard the firing 
of signal guns ; and, on entering the large plaza, the 
place seemed to be deserted. Not a man was to be 
seen. We, however, rode to a large inclosure, a 
kind oi corral, on one side of the plaza, and, picket- 
ing our horses, began to make arrangements for 


We determined to spend the night here, at all 
events; and, while our horses were being stripped, 
the Major and myself were about to start on a 
reconnoisance of the place. 

At this moment, a solitary figure made his appear- 
ance, striding across the square, with an extraordi- 
nary assumption of dignity. His hands were crossed 
over his back, and under the long skirts of a Shang- 
haish black coat ; a glossy somlrero w^as cocked 
over his dexter ear, with an air of great importance ; 
and, stepping up to the little group around the 
Major, he coldly saluted that officer, without so 
much as condescending to notice the rest of us, and 
demanded, in no very friendly tone of voice : 

"Q?<e guieres, sefiores?^'' (what do you want, sirs?) 

I replied to this rather uncourteous salutation, 
by informing him that w^e wished to see the Al- 

'^Por qiie?^'' was the cool and laconic rejoinder. 

We began to think that he was coming the dig- 
nity rather too strong, to suit our appreciation of 
Mexican character; so, addressing him with an im- 
provement on his own haughty manner, I demanded 
to be conducted forthwith to the house of the 
Alcalde, or he would experience the consequence 
of a non-compliance. 

''Yo mismo soy el Alcalde /" (I am the Alcalde !) 


** The devil you are ! I mistook your imperti- 
nence for that of a saucy priest," I replied. " And 
now, seiior, as you are nothing more than the Al- 
calde of this cut-throat looking place, we w^ant you 
to furnish us with a beef for our men, and corn for 
our horses ; for which we are willing to pay you a 
fair compensation." 

"iVb hai, senorcs ! no hai came, — ?zo hai inaiz,^ 
(there is neither meat nor corn) replied the ill-favored 
scamp, with the usual accompanying wag of the 

" Hurry, old fellow, — do you hear? — and dispatch 
some of your men to bring forthwith what we 

"I>/o-o," repeated the Mexican, ";zo hai came, — ni 
maiz, — ni siquiera Jtoinbres ; todos son afuera — todos,^^ 
(I say there is neither meat nor corn, — not even 
men. They are all gone, — all) 

*' Where are your men ?" 

^^Qiiien sahe.^^ 

We w^ere beginning now to lose patience with the 
obstinate Mexican, when a Texian, with a hair lariat 
in his hand, stepped up and addressed the Major: 

"With your permission, sir, I can bring this 
greaser to terms ; I know the nature of the brute." 

"How will you do it?" asked the officer; "he is 
as stubborn as the Corkonian's pig!" 


^' I'll choke him a little with this lariat, sir," said 
the Texian, shaking that instrument in the Alcalde's 

I assured the Major that I had seen the experi- 
ment performed several times, and always with the 
happiest results. 

The Ranger was then permitted to adjust the 
rope ; but with instructions not to push the choking 
process so far that the Mexican would be unable to 
cry jpeccavi, w^hen he had got enough. 

"Never fear, Major," was the answer; "I'll do it 
up brown ; but I'll get the rations, and yet leave 
breath enough in his carcass to stand another chok- 
ing, the next time we happen to come this way." 

The Texian then politely requested the Alcalde 
to remove his broad-brimmed sombrero; but not 
complying readily, it was removed for him, by one 
of the crowd, who had assembled to witness this 
novel proceeding. 

The rope, previously prepared with a hangman's 
loop, w^as placed over his head, and drawn down to 
the throat. Gathering up about two-thirds of the 
free end of the rope in his hands, our Ranger led 
his victim tow^ards the gate of the corral, over the 
posts of which was stretched a cross-piece of timber 
as a brace. Throwing the end of the rope over this, 
it was caught by a number of hands, and drawn 


gently downwards, when they waited for the word 
to stretch upon it. 

Up to this moment, the Mexican looked upon the 
whole proceedings as a joke only; but as the word 
was given — " heave away, hoys /" — the obstinacy and 
dignity of the worthy alcalde suddenly deserted 
him ; and, clutching the rope with both hands, he 
exclaimed : 

"" Oh! seilores! por cl amor de Dios ! misericordia ! 
Si! tengo came! hai hastaiite, — lastante!'' (Oh! for 
the love of God! mercy! yes! I have meat; a 
plenty, — plenty !) 

"Say corn, too, you black devil, or up you go!'' 
cried his mewiless executioner. 
" Si! y maiz tamhien, hastante !''^ 
" Let him down, boys— let him down ! he relents 
—we've cured him ! Now, mister Alcalde, are you 
sure we can have the corn and meat ?" asked the 

The Mexican, addressed thus in good English, 
was at a loss, for a moment, what answer to make ; 
but at length comprehending at a venture, hastened 
- to reply. 

*' Si ! seFiores ! si, con mucho gnsto /" 
*' But when ? qiiando ?" 

''Apisa! ajrrisa! inmediatamente, sefwres!'' (quickly ! 
quickly ! immediately, gentlemen !) 


By this time the plaza began to assume an ap- 
pearance of life; and women were gathering from 
all parts of the town, to intercede for their magis- 
trate. I assured them that we intended no harm to 
him, but were only forcing him to sell some supper 
to a party of hungry men. We only wanted meat 
and corn, for ourselves and horses ; and the privilege 
of passing the night in their place ; and in the morn- 
ing we should leave them unharmed. 

The women were satisfied ; and they declared that 
those articles could be had; and we should have 
them, too. 

The Texian, who had proposed the trial hy lariat, 
now whispered in my ear: ,, 

" Doctor ! negotiate with the women, for a bushel 
or two of hot tortillas^ 

" Well suggested !" I replied, and turning to the 
Alcalde, I asked that worthy, loud enough to be 
heard by the crowd of women, if he could include, 
in his contract, a couple of hundred or so of those 

" Si! si! si!^^ exclaimed, at once, a score of music- 
al voices ; and the women scattered in every direc- 
tion, to their houses, to commence the labors of the 
mctate ; and soon the clapping of hands announced 
that the interesting process of preparing them had 


The Alcalde, now become the most accommo- 
dating and complaisant of hosts, invited the Major, 
and a number of others, to accompany him to his 
house, which was close at hand. Arriving at his 
porch, Ke took a large cow's horn, which hung sus- 
pended from the thatch, and with a few blasts, 
summoning from their hiding-places a number of 
stout rancheros, dispatched them forthwith, to bring 
into the plaza the requisite supplies. 

One by one the family of the Alcalde entered the 
house, to have a nearer view of the Americanos. To 
them, we were "?Y?ra arw," a strange sight, which 
they had never before had an opportunity to see. 
We were the veritable barbarians, of whom they had 
heard so much. 

The Alcalde now called to his wife, — a pleasant, 
good-natured looking little body, — and requested her 
to bring a bottle of Parras brandy and some glasses. 
When the senora returned with the liquor, he poured 
out a glass, first to himself; — and, passing the bottle 
to his guests, proposed our healths, — " hoping that 
the next time he should have the pleasure of our 
company, it might be under more pleasant circum- 
stances !" 

" But the fact is, gentlemen," said he, " I received 
you, according to special instructions from El Goher- 
nador, General Canales. I dared not do otherwise ; 


— and, as you have forced me to your own terms," — 
continued he, smilingly, and making a significant 
motion towards his throat, — " I hope to escape un- 

While this was taking place, the rancheros had 
returned with a fine beef, which they proceeded 
to dress in the plaza ; and, by the time the men 
had started their cooking, the tortillas, piping hot 
from the pans, w^ere being brought from the dif- 
ferent houses, neatly enveloped in snow-white 

Notwithstanding the unpromising appearance of 
matters on arriving at the village, we succeeded in 
getting a good supper, — as well as the means for an 
ample breakfast ; — and, on leaving the Alcalde in the 
morning, the Major gave him an order on the Quar- 
termaster, at Monterey, for the full amount of all we 
had obtained of him ; besides, adding to the amount, 
a small bonus, by way of compensation, for the 
unceremonious liberties we had taken with his 

The worthy magistrate had become very friendly, 
and, on bidding him farewell, he insisted on mount- 
ing his horse and accompanying us a short w^ay, and 
putting us in the road towards Cerralvo, — which 
place we reached, as the shades of night w^ere steal- 
ing over it, after an absence of five days. Although, 


SO far as the real object of the expedition was con- 
cerned, we had not accomplished much, yet the 
discovery of the plundered stores, at that particular 
time, was of much importance to the army, which 
was in want of them. 


Negotiations for Peace. — The Relieving of the old Troops. — The 
Withdrawal of the Regular Troops of the Mexican Army. — The 
Mexican Government forced to a Treaty. — The Writer takes 
Passage for Home. — Arrival at Reynosa. — A Surprise. — Meets an 
old Friend. — Her Impressions. — She visits General Taylor. — A 
Free Pass. — Return to St. Louis. 

It was now late in the winter of 1847-8, and 
negotiations had been some months in progress for 
the ratification of a treaty of peace between the two 
belligerent governments ; and in view of the accom- 
plishment of this object, the veteran troops were 
being relieved by those of more recent levies. 

There remained but little to occupy the army, 
save keeping open the communication between the 
coast and the interior. 

The Mexicans had withdrawn all their regular 
forces; — and the guerrillas only remained to molest 

They, however, were nothing more now than 
organized bands of robbers, waylaying the thorough- 
fares, to pick up a scanty plunder from such little 
parties as ventured forth unguarded. Our trains, 


therefore, still required the protection of small 
escorts, while employed in the transportation of 
supplies to the garrisoned towns; and gradually re- 
moving such materiel of war, as could be readily 
dispensed with, towards the Gulf coast. 

A war, of almost three years' continuance, which 
had been maintained, on our part, at the expense of 
millions of treasure, and the blood of thousands of 
the best men of our nation ; — but which had estab- 
lished for us a military reputation, of which our 
country is justly proud, was coming to a close. 

The Mexican people were weary of a struggle 
attended only with defeat ; — their soldiery were 
discouraged, — having been taught by bitter experi- 
ence the utter inexpediency of longer contending, 
in the open field, with their invincible Anglo-Saxon 
antagonists. Their national treasury was exhaust- 
ed ; dissensions and revolutionary factions were 
fermenting at the capital ; and the entire political 
horizon of the country was dark with portentous 

A treaty of peace, therefore, must soon be rati- 
fied ; however disadvantageous it might prove to 
the political and moral interest of the Mexican 

I had taken passage at Camargo, on board a small 
steamer bound for the little river town of Reynosa. 


The river, at this season, was at a low stage, so that 
boats of any considerable draught could not proceed 
beyond that point. Here, the supplies intended for 
the upper country were reshipped ; and passengers 
bound down were landed, to await the arrival of the 
lower river boat. 

When we arrived at Reynosa, the steamer from 
below had not yet come up, and the passengers 
sought quarters for the night in the town. 

The next morning, arrived the " Rough and 
Ready," which would turn her bows down-stream 
again so soon as she had discharged her freight upon 
the river-bank. 

Soon as we heard the sound of her 'scape-pipes, 
we hastened to the landing, to welcome her ar- 
rival. At length, she came in sight round the bend 
of the river, and steamed cautiously up the shallow 
channel of the long reach that lay below the 

We observed on her hurricane deck what, to us, 
were objects of no small interest, — so long had our 
eyes been unaccustomed to the sight. It was no 
less than a group of ladies, dressed in the latest 
styles of the States. 

With but one exception, I believe, — and that was 
the lady of Major H., of the pay department, 
— no American lady had visited our line, during 


our occupation of the country ; and that was truly- 
like an " angel's visit." 

Who could these ladies be ? Perhaps they were 
the loving wives of some of our officers ; and had 
come to the country to join their long-absent lords, 
who, no doubt, were soon to return home with 
them. They certainly had the appearance of Amer- 
ican ladies; — at all events, whoever they were, 
they were evidently just from the United States; 
for they wore bonnets, and their dresses, so unlike 
those worn by the Mexican ladies, indicated as 

As the boat turned up to the landing, one 
of the ladies had recognized an acquaintance on 
the bank ; and, advancing in front of the group, 
was gesticulating in an earnest manner towards 

No one, of our little party of downward-bound 
passengers, seemed to receive these marks of recog- 
nition as directed to himself. At last, as the boat 
touched the bank, and a deck-hand sprang to the 
shore, line in hand, I was surprised to hear the voice 
of the lady, exclaiming : 

" Senor Medico ! Don Estehan / / Doctor ! ! ! venga 
abordo /" 

I looked, — certainly the words were addressed to 
me ! — I could not be mistaken ; for I was standing 


apart from the other persons on the bank, and the 
eyes of the lady were directed particularly to me ! 
But what lady would have chanced to recognize me, 
in that part of the world ! 

She was evidently a Mexicana, or a Spaniard. 
Ah ! I have it now, — she is probably some one of 
my Creole friends, whom I had parted with some 
years before in Cuba. At all events, the mystery 
can be easily solved ; — so, stepping across the gang- 
way plank, and springing up the stairs to the upper 
deck, I found myself enfolded in a pair of fleshy 
arms, and drawn into a friendly, but most smother- 
ing embrace. 

"^/i / amigo mio, tengo imicliisimo alegria a la vista 
de listed /" 

And it was not till I had released myself from this 
genuine Mexican salutation, that I found myself in 
the presence of my kind friend of Monterey, Doiia 
Felicite Mendez. 

After mutual compliments, Doha Felicite informed 
me, that she was now on her return from the United 
States. She had been to St. Louis, where she had 
left her two sons, and a daughter, to be educated. 
She said, she had stopped at Baton Rouge, where 
she had spent a week very agreeably in the family 
of her friend, General Taylor. 

It was her first visit to the United States. She 

doNa felicite. 403 

had seen much to interest her ; and had much to 
communicate to me of her impressions. 

" Why, amigo mio P'' said she to me, with a quiz- 
zical smile, — " I have discovered that your country- 
men are not at all like the Camanches ; they are 
quite as refined as the Mejicanos P'' 

I spent an hour very agreeably with my good 
friend, who easily exacted a promise from me, to 
call upon her Pepc, Martin^ and Carlota, on my 
arrival at St. Louis. 

" My dear sir ! as you know that lady, will you 
relieve my curiosity, by informing me who she 

This request was smilingly made by the captain 
of the boat. I gave him a satisfactory answer, and 
formally introduced him to the lady. 

" Well, really !" observed the captain, as I was 
about to leave the boat,^ — " I thought that your 
friend was no less a personage, than the lady of 
Santa Anna herself. My cargo consists almost en- 
tirely of trunks, boxes, and rich furniture, belonging 
to her, and her retinue of Spanish ladies from New 

" She brings an order from General Taylor, for 
the free transportation of herself, friends, and goods 
to Monterey." 

It was many months before I had the pleasure of 


fulfilling the promise I had made to Dona Felicite. 
But when, at length, I arrived at St. Louis, her 
sons were almost the first persons who welcomed 
my return. 

It is now quite common for the wealthy families 
of Mexico, to send their sons and daughters to this 
city, to obtain educations ; and many of them form 
attachments to the country and people of the 
*' northern barbarians," which they will ever after 



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